High School Report 10
(From a letter in 1996)
Although the students in our high school are poor, they still have some money. And how does the school get them to part with it? The math teacher sells candy in his classroom. One of the teachers (who left because he made waves) complained that his students kept leaving his room during class to go buy candy from the math teacher.
Twice a year a school ring salesman does his spiel in the library. All seniors are required to be there. The rings vary in price from $40 to in the hundreds. They can choose from several designs, with or without the school’s name, with or without their own name, with or without the school colors. A ring is one of those traditions, like the alma mater, the yearbook, the mascot, and the school colors. Maybe all this nonsense is an attempt to distract the students – when they look back on their schooldays later – from the fact that they have been totally screwed as far as their education is concerned.
The cap and gown for the graduation ceremony also costs $40 and the yearbook costs $25.
And then there’s the senior field trip. Toward the end of the senior year, the students go somewhere. Most students have never been more than ten miles north or south of their home, except for football and basketball games in similar hamlets, so where do they go?
Do they visit some of the many historic towns in Mexico? Do they go to a national park? Do they visit museums? No. They take a plane to Florida to ride the rollercoaster at Disney World. They scrape the money together by selling tickets, tamales, etc.
A few weeks ago the superintendent called the present senior students together in the library to talk them out of it. I was pleasantly surprised, but it soon became obvious that he only wanted to save them from a disappointment if they couldn’t get enough money together for Disney World.“Why don’t you go to Dallas? You can go by bus and see a Dallas Cowboys football game. You could probably get their autographs. That way you will have something lasting, something to show for your money.” Oh boy.
The next post in this series is about the graduation ceremony.