Sunday, September 30, 2007

Mather High School

Mather is a public high school in the northside of Chicago. It was a natural feed-in for the elementary schools in the district. After completing Prep to Year 5 at Hagen International Primary School in Papua New Guinea (the equivalent of kindergarten to 5th grade in the States), I finished off the rest of grammar school at Clinton Elementary School. It was a no-brainer decision for me -- Mather was a 7 minute walk from home (yes I timed it), most of my friends from Clinton were going to Mather, and it was actually a decent school (at the time). Some classmates went to Lane, Von Steuben, Lincoln Park, IMSA. Or even parochial schools.

The rude awakening that we weren't in elementary school anymore, for me, was in Biology class. There were four long tables in the class. So first day, we naturally sat at the table with kids from the same elementary school -- so Table #1: Clinton, Table #2: Boone, Table #3: Jamieson, and Table #4: Rogers. I think there were also a couple kids from Solomon. Then in walks Ms. Duncan, demanded quiet, and who then immediately changed the seating arrangements into ALPHABETICAL order! So we all glanced at each other, scared to death of her, and moved to our assigned seats. I was one of the lucky ones, I still got to sit next to one of my dearest friends, Sofia Doulas :)

So we made new friends, lost touch with some, and then in a blink of an eye, we were seniors!!! Lots of changes in four years! I think high school was a breeze for most of us, until we got to the AP classes. Becker in AP Calculus, Miller in AP US History, Coltman in AP Chemistry, Weiss in AP English. Those were the only AP classes offered during our time. And then there was Weissberg for Trig/College Algebra. I can count the # of students who got an A from her in one hand. And I wasn't one of them. So the top three ranked students (based on GPA) throughout high school were Thom Chaiket, myself, and George Diversiev. I think we would flip-flop during grading periods, if I remember right, we were all just separated by a few tenths of a point! Thom and George were incredibly intelligent guys -- Thom was definitely superior in math & chemistry, and George was superior in history & current events.

I actually became Ms. Duncan's student assistant during free period for the next three years. And I saw this same change-to-the-natural-order-of-things happen to each freshman class she got -- it was quite amusing to watch actually, seeing the same nervous look on each of their faces :)

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