Friday, January 21, 2011

Every day is a great day at Henry Foss

This is long and rambly, read at your own risk

A place I haven't seen in years. A place I haven't set foot in ... in ...  nearly ... 15 ..years is suddenly crowding my thoughts. Henry Foss High School might be closed due to major budget cuts in the Tacoma School District. 

Everyone, everywhere is making hard choices. I know things are awful here in Vegas and our education system which is nearly last on all kinds of lists is trying to find ways to save money, but closing schools isn't being considered, that would be ludicrous here. Tacoma however has a very different, more stable population and closing schools is being considered.

I hated middle school, like most people I know. I attended two middle schools one in Kansas and one in Tacoma. Neither one is a happy memory.

High school didn't start out much better than middle school ended. I had a few acquaintances from middle school I would eat lunch with but I soon found actual friends in choir. Susan, Annie, and Jennifer were right there everyday, and they liked strange, fat little me. 

I took IB classes. I never took the actual tests at the end of high school, my parents didn't have the money, but I took all the classes. Because of this I spent 4 years with the same 40 (+/-) kids. We all had the same English and History classes. We all took the same level language classes. I didn't have math with them... After going through all of that (IB is seriously intense) together they were the family I chose. 

My German class my Senior year had 9 kids in it. One was an exchange student but the other 8 of us had spent 4 years together, we had the best time. When we had that awful sub who barely spoke English we all skipped together. Frau Bannister found it rather odd that all of us hadn't been there, so she "fixed" the attendance record after we swore we had all been together, and we had been! There was even a day that none of us wanted to do anything so we all went to Shari's together, Frau Bannister included. 

Foss is where I was finally accepted for just being me. I didn't have the right clothes, the right shoes, the right hair, the right family, the right address, and, well you get the idea, but the people who liked me, never cared. They still came to my birthday parties in the Bat Cave. They still took me places and best of all, they still loved me.

Mr. McKenna's classroom and the Little Theater Green Room will remain forever burned in my memory as the places where I nearly died of embarrassment, when my baby brother spit up all over my crush, and where my older brother told that same crush 2 years later that I had liked him for 3 years. I hope and pray that if my girls have a hopeless crush it will be on someone who is as sweet as Matt was. I now know that a lesser gentleman could have and really might have taken full advantage of me and my eternal pining but he never did and I really appreciate that. (I continued liking him right through my freshman year at college)

There was laughter and happiness and chicken nuggets and french fries outside for lunch on warm days (yes there were warm days). There was the Foss Family Picnic. There was choir, the musical, and dances, I made it to a few.

There were M&M's and hugs on the bad days. My dad moved out, my parents got divorced, I was sent to the counselor for being anorexic, I had a boyfriend, I didn't have a boyfriend, I had a boyfriend again, my boyfriend really broke up with me. For sure, that time. Kathy finally made me get rid of the candy cane Milton gave me the day Ben broke up with me, he even let me wear his leather jacket that day. The candy cane was yellow, my favorite color and he gave it to me just to see me smile. 

There was Susan, she sat right next to me in choir, for four years.We had at least half of our classes together,  for four years. We shared a locker, for four years, you can't NOT love someone after all that! She was the big sister I always needed. She kept me sane and intact. She is still an awesome friend. Each one of my girls has one of her initials in their name (ok, so that was actually an accident, but I really like that it worked out that way).

There was MyZanne. She didn't come until my Sophmore year and she was an Alto in choir (you have to forgive somethings) but there was an instant connection. I would say it was love at first sight, but that's gross. I would say it was that we recognized each other from the premortal life, but that's too cheesy. Whatever it was it is the most priceless friendship I've ever had (next to ElCid of course). I miss her a lot some days. Husbands and babies and jobs have made us reorganize our priorities but she is still my best friend, she knows to much, I'd have to kill her ;)

Obviously none of these things will change if a building more than 1,000 miles from me is closed, but it's still  sad to think that it will sit empty, and lonely on top of that hill. At the end of every morning announcement we would hear "Every day is a great day at Henry Foss" and after hearing it everyday for four long years you really start to believe it.


An Wanna said...

I had read about this in the paper too and the thing that shocked me the most was how few students they say go there right now. It was like barely over 1000.

Karen Valinda said...

How many kids are Mt T, Stadium, Lincoln and Wilson pulling in these days? Is it the population in Tacoma or just the area Foss pulls from? I'll have to find time to research...
You guys opted in to Foss due to the IB program but Lincoln being Stinken' helped the decision. Five of my six children went to that school - What are they thinking??? jk

Beki said...

I saw it, too, I have my yahoo news still on Tacoma. I was surprised like Nan about the enrollment; it was 1500+ when I was there. It's extra strange considering that they got the Gates grant while I was there that paid for renovations to the place. No idea what's happened to it.

Zanne said...

First of all - yummy. He was a C0lin Firth kind of cute. Good thing I didn't see P&P until college, or else I might have caught the Valinda disease...except I wouldn't have done that to you. Plus, that was my red phase, and he didn't have red hair. He was your crush. And, yes, the best kind of guy to have for a crush.

What you said about Frau B makes me feel less guilty about how my IB kids went and picked up food while we watched Star Wars (WWII unit) last week. "Mrs H, the three of us are going to the bathroom. We'll be back in about 10 minutes. is there anything you want us to pick up for you from the bathroom?" They found doughnuts and cookies somewhere...

I wonder if the decline in enrollment is due to the student shooting....5 years ago? Crayola was there went it happened, but was safe inside a classroom. Thanks to Mrs. Burke it was turned into the safest school, regardless of lower income demographics, but maybe that perception is gone now. Two weeks ago I was suggesting to one of the assist. principals what a no-tolerance policy for fighting should really be...if they want people running away from a fight instead of standing around egging it on. Sigh. No one believes me that is could work. Or that it would hold up in court.

Emily said...

That was a nice post to read. Thanks for sharing:)