Friday, April 01, 2005

A few memories of my alma mater

Many of you know that I attended an all-girls' school for the last half of my high school career. I was there as a boarding student, of my own free will. As it was an expensive private school, I was only able to attend at the time due to the generosity of my grandfather. I jumped at the offer, thinking that going to an elite college prep school would probably prepare me better for college than a regular public high school. I certainly obtained the study skills and the writing ability, but I did have some excellent teachers at my first high school and I know they would have nurtured me to the best of their ability.

In the fall of 1990, I crossed the threshold of my new environment, ready to face the fact that there would be no boys...whatsoever. It's hard to believe that this 16 year-old girl was willing to exchange any possibility of male companionship for a two-year relationship with books. But as was normal for a teenage girl deprived of the presence of boys, I had crushes on virtually every testerone-laden being in sight on campus. So if you were a male teacher under the age of 40, most likely you had at least 30, maybe 50, girls in short uniform skirts adoring you in the most secretive manner possible. How embarrassing would that be if your friends found out you had a crush on your physics teacher! My best friend confessed and I don't think we stopped teasing her until after graduation. But, of course, our group of friends eventually discovered my crush, too.

My first quarter (or was it semester?) was pretty demoralizing. I came in as a straight-A student, and was quickly coming to realize that I was way behind academically. My rare encounter with a D- was in my English class, where I discovered I was writing at junior high level, not college level. The teacher, who was a very tough Hillary Clinton-type, was on the AP English review board, so of course, she had very high expectations for our writing. After some help, I received a C+ on my next essay. By some stroke of luck, my GPA was saved when a substitute teacher was called in after Mrs. Clinton left, to score AP English exams, I suppose.

As you can probably imagine, I was involved in every possible musical activity on campus. I was in the orchestra, string club, honors choir, an a cappella group, the school musical, and every music class offered. I also took piano lessons on campus, and made futile attempts to keep up my independent violin studies. Composing music became a great passion of mine as I chose to write a dramatic/musical piece for my senior project. I had dreams of becoming a film score composer. I also had the opportunities to student-direct the choir and run one of the orchestra rehearsals when our teacher was indisposed -- both activities coming quite naturally to me. I didn't really take advantage of this gift of directing music groups until my trip to Taiwan after graduating college.

That's another story.


Anonymous said...

I still remember you as our "conductor" for our choir during our Taiwan Study Tour 96!

Caroline Jou Armitage said...

Would I remember you?

Lethy said...

Not sure, there were too many of us in the choir. Though we were on the same bus a few times to different weekly excursions. We do have a mutual friend, who had passed away back in Oct....the last time I saw him was at my son's 1 year old bday party which took place in the spring of 2008.

Lethy said...

The reason why I had mentioned our friend was because the last time I saw him, he had mentioned you...he had wanted to bring you to the bday party so that we could meet up, but you were exhausted from your flight home from France(Paris?).