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Another Portland Blog

Thursday, May 24, 2007

 

High School: The Poopsicle

There's a tradition at my old high school. Every year, a group of seniors takes it upon themselves to dig, paint or carve their graduating year into the side of the building or into the grass in the courtyard. During my graduating year, three groups made attempts to make our year a permanent fixture. A dug-out pair of numbers in the courtyard filled with cement was quickly undermined by rain. An effort to paint them onto a wall near the cafeteria was easily blasted off by a power washer on a Monday morning. Mere days from graduation, one group finally got it right. If you take a trip up SW Vermont and have a gander at one of Wilson High School's walls near the auditorium, you can still make out a faint '97.

A year later, a Student Body President was nearly expelled when he and a group of friends broke into the school after hours to paint a '98 on the cafeteria's floor. Now, a decade after all of that, a group of seniors has outdone the pranks of their elders. Over the weekend, they dug a gigantic peace symbol into the courtyard and filled it with flowers alongside a "Wilson Seniors: '07".

Click here for a photo.

I'm sure it's a response to this, which made local news a few months ago. My sister and I headed over there last night to have a look. I'm surprised they managed to pull it off. Despite the reported number of suspects, 12, it must have taken them a while to put it all together. One of the kids responsible confessed yesterday and will have her diploma withheld until she repairs the "thousands of dollars" worth of damage.

After wandering around the courtyard, we headed inside. It was Senior Awards Night and the school was still open. We were shocked by what we found inside. Our alma mater is a mess. The lockers are banged up and covered in occasional spots of graffiti. One stairwell reeks of rotting trash. Many of the ceiling tiles were missing or looked like they were about to fall at any second. All in all, Wilson looks like a class action lawsuit waiting to happen.

But maybe we were looking at the past through rose-colored contact lenses. It was the first time either of us had set foot in a PPS building in nearly a decade. Have they always been like this or are kids just more destructive then they used to be? Or, more likely, did all the revenue from that 3-year county tax levee go to administrative costs instead of infrastructure? It should also be noted that we spotted new-ish iMacs in the yearbook room. That reminds me of an op-ed a former classmate once wrote for the school newspaper (if you're out there reading this, hi Sean). The title? "Throwing Macintoshs at the Problem."

All in all, the visit was a not-so friendly reminder that high school did, indeed, suck. So much for nostalgia.

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