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Streetwise: What would you do differently if you were back in high school?

Original post made on Jul 7, 2011

Summer is only halfway through, but staff at the Danville Express are already looking toward the new school year. In preparation of the back to school edition of Views magazine roving reporter Stan Wharton walked along Railroad Avenue to ask residents ==B What would you do differently if you were back in high school?==

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, July 7, 2011, 12:27 PM

Comments (6)

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Posted by Harald A. Bailey
a resident of another community
on Jul 7, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Dear Editor,

This is a very interesting question that causes some reflection among those on our 24/680 south corridor e-exchanges. Many have found more fun now in reunion with their high school classmates, but even more focus on their university connections. All-in-all, there is little regret for their high school years because it was such a small part of their education prior to the professional education.

I returned to a Napa Senior High School reunion 50 years and two months after graduating and enjoyed meeting my fellow graduates as if for the first time. I have no fond memories of high school so that day in the valley was really all that high school is to me.

By contrast, my wife is very active in her Hillsdale High School class reunions and I have enjoyed several over the years. Through her eyes I see the celebration of high school friends and memories.

Great question, thank you. Maybe more of your readers can reflect on this question.

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Posted by jrm
a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Jul 9, 2011 at 12:25 am

Please tell me she drove....Hillsdale is a long drive.

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Posted by Jerry
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 9, 2011 at 11:46 am

I would have hit the books harder and enrolled in college. I enlisted in the Army my senior year and was off to Viet Nam within a few months after graduation. Big mistake.Before I was 18 years old I had 8 confirmed kills,a bunch more off the books, a heroin monkey on my back,and an infection I picked up that thought penicillin was a vitamin.
Liked the place so much I did 2 tours. Came back to the states,enrolled in college on the GI Bill. Got a law degree.Got married.Got kids. Got house.Got American Dream.Now we Got Obama working to take the American Dream away.

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Posted by [removed]
a resident of Alamo
on Jul 9, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Dear Editor,

Today our neighbors in e-exchange discussion considered more than simply the history of high school but what it must become in the future. The classic social structure of high school as a step to university no longer has definition for a majority of students and their parents. So as we alumni of our nation's high schools look back to answer this question we also need to look forward to the reality of an emergent secondary education system that has many diversities in its design and operations.

For your readers, how might that be defined?

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Posted by Harald A. Bailey
a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Dear Dolores,

I have received excellent responses from three generations of high school graduates as my time when it was the center of USAmerican education, my childrens' generation that are looking for alternatives for their children because of the "stale" reality of high school in the 1990's, and my young neighbors that are entering high school with a very different view of its quite inconsequential step to university.

I wish you could engage Joan Buchanan in the shifting reality so we could enjoy Diablo Views on this subject.


Harald A. Bailey

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Posted by Doing College
a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2011 at 9:11 am

Hello everyone,

Hal Bailey invited my opinion regarding this conversation. Since I am a college and graduate school private consultant and I founded a business (Doing College) that directly uses high school for college-bound students as the most important step in the progression toward higher learning, it would be difficult for me to see it as inconsequential. Should the social structure and cultural orientation of the public and/or private high school systems undergo change, I suspect the systems of higher education and their viewpoints would be pivotal in this discussion. The use the high school record (grades, rigor of coursework) as the heart of the college application.

Beyond that, I will directly respond to the editor's question about what I would do differently if I were back in high school. I was a poor fit for the private, parochial school my Italian immigrant parents sent me to (too independent a thinker and somewhat rebellious for the tastes of the nuns who were my teachers). My mother invested in a private high school in Manhattan and there I found Greek and Roman mythology, 4 years of Latin, 4 years of foreign language (Spanish), music and art classes, humanities, English composition, history and math and the sciences fully available and taught by dedicated instructors. I loved learning and took full advantage of this traditional (sort of liberal arts) high school curriculum. The opportunity truly turned my life around. I headed off to medical school and, many years later after working 5 years in medical research, I earned a PhD at UCLA. Now at 50 something, I founded my own business and enjoy working closely with young people who are trying to learn more about what interests them and what colleges/univerisities are a good match.

Now back to the editor's question: what would I change? If I had it to do over again, I would change the amount of energy and dedication I gave to the study of the physical sciences, especially mathematics. I gave math in particular short rift because it was the one subject I did not excel I settled for average grades. Now, years later, that fact still plagues me as I struggle with things that come more easily to those with a stronger quantitative and logic skills.

I wish all youngsters could be exposed to the fine high school education my had, but, alas, that type of education is out of reach for most. And our public system is deteriorating as we speak due to inadequate resources and a system that is broken.

Hope this adds to the conversation.

Kind regards,
Elizabeth LaScala

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