Friday, September 17, 2004

12th Grade (2001-2002): Part I

Back in my high school days, I didn’t keep a very good record of my trials and tribulations. Looking back, that is regrettable. I decided to start with 12th Grade because it’s fresher in my mind. I plan to go back all the way to 9th, with recollection fading as I go farther back in time. I’ll begin with my six classes and then discuss some larger themes.

My first period class was Advanced Placed Physics with Mr. Peter Thorne. Nobody in the class actually called him by “Mr.”, or even “Pete”. To his beloved students, he was simply Thorne. I was never meant to be in this course. For some reason, they put me in the class. I had taken Physics Honors in 11th Grade. I’m pretty sure I got a “B” and “C” in my Junior year. If Katie weren’t also in the class, I would have assuredly dropped the class. Frankly, I never studied or took an interest in learning Physics. I literally didn’t get above a “D” or low “C” on any exam. Somehow I pulled off a “C” in fall semester and “B” for the spring. The class was mostly fun and games. Thorne would always say the test would be sooner than it actually was. Instead of teaching for the full block, he’d quit early and go play Star Craft on the computer. There were some pretty nice people in the class. Of course, there was Katie. In addition, Tyler Settle was there. The biggest scandal of the year was about the race for valedictorian. The details elude me, but the gist was that Ashley Courtney, Kate Patten, and Aimee Kalb had all planned to bomb the test. Long story shot, Kalb got the short end of the stick. Patten got #1, Courtney 2, and Kalb 3. I have no idea if there is still animosity over the incident. When I took my A.P. exam in May, I ended up getting the lowest possible score, a “1”. Finally, every once in a while we were graced by the presence of little William Thorne. He was the toddler son of Mr. Thorne. Most of the class loved him, but I was not one of them. He should have kept his son at home where he belonged. I wish Thorne still had his web page active. It summed up his teaching philosophy. I went to the site last spring and it hadn’t been updated since the 1st month of school.

Second period was my free block for Senior year. I would get to sleep in until about 8:30. I credit the free period for improving my spirits that year.

Advanced Placement Calculus was my 3rd period course. Many of you might remember Math instructor Corrinn Gouldy. I had taken her for Algebra II Regular my 10th grade year. I was one of her best students when I had her for Algebra II. Jackie McDowell recommended me to take A.P. Calculus after scoring very high in my Pre-calculus class. For some reason, there weren’t many more than a dozen students in the class. They broke down 25 A.P. Calculus students and made two classes out of it. I’ve got to say, I actually liked Ms. Gouldy. Admittedly, she was a humorless instructor. Her attempts to crack a joke always went flat. Her best humor was of the unintentional kind. Her daughter, I forget her name, had Diabetes (IIRC). She was always getting sick, sometimes very badly. One day she got a call from the hospital and she had to go down to the office. Gouldy painted a very bad picture of her daughter’s health. I think it went something like this, “That was the hospital. My daughter’s not doing well. She passed out and had to go to the hospital. Now, back to page 126.” Gouldy didn’t miss a beat. It was like her daughter never was ill and she was able to focus right back on the Calculus. The class was composed of many of the same people from 1st Period A.P. Physics. I can remember a lot of the people: Katie Ricketts, Tyler Settle, Steve Sidell, Katie Swartzbaugh, Boris Hrivstov, and some other losers. Gouldy was always disappointed in our class. Her other Calculus class had the likes of Patten and Courtney and Kalb. We were the proverbial “slow ass class”. I think my final grades were “C’s” for both semesters. I got a “2” on the Advanced Placement exam. The class got a little less interesting after Katie dropped second semester. I remember Gouldy nearly giving her a nervous breakdown. And I’m not joking. Katie despised her. I often wonder about what happened to Gouldy. I know now that she was undergoing a marital separation during my 12th grade year. I hate to say it, but I’ve speculated that she could be a lesbian. It was the way she’d always place her keys around her belt. Gouldy was what you might call a handsome woman. My Mom has a good friend who lives next door to the Gouldy’s. If I’m ever allowed back into the halls of DHS, I’d like to see her again.

To conclude Part I of my 12th grade recap, I’ll discuss my 4th Period class. For the third straight year, I had Myria Arencibia as Spanish instructor. This was Spanish IV, one step below A.P. Honestly, I felt she was an incompetent teacher. That was part of her charm. I could take her class and get “A’s” without ever learning a word of Spanish. She was a nice lady and all, despite her Republican leanings. She’s one of those Cuban Republicans who reside in Miami-Dade. They’ve never been able to forgive JFK over his handlings with Cuba. Arencibia was distraught over the Clinton sex scandals and voted for Mr. Bush in 2000. I pretty much hated most of the people in that class. There was one nice girl, Denise Garcia. I would talk to her about the boxing scene. Being of Hispanic descent, she took an interest in professional prizefighting. I think we were the only two fight fans at Dwyer. Most everyone else, besides Katie, was a derelict. If my memory serves me correctly, I earned two “A’s”. I’m not saying that we didn’t have some fun times. We would watch the same movies over and over. Not just 12th grade, but in 10th and 11th. She had a repertoire of awful motion pictures. There were about three that we saw at least twice every year. One was “Fools Rush In” with Matthew Perry and Salma Hayek. Salma Hayek was pretty hot, but the movie sucked big time. Perhaps the worst was “Dance With Me”, starring Vanessa Williams. All the girls fawned over the male lead, Chayanne. I remember this one more prominently because in 10th Grade, we actually went on a field trip to the Promenade Theatre to see it debut. Finally, there was “Clueless” with Alicia Silverstone. Arencibia hated the movie, but we still watched it on a yearly basis. I remember my years with Arencibia fondly. She had a good heart, even if her teaching methods were inept. She really thought that people were learning Spanish. I couldn’t bring myself to say much bad about her. I can laugh about it now, considering I’ve completed my two years of college level Spanish. Once and for all, I can put the Spanish language behind me.

Part II… Coming whenever I get it written

Period 5: A.P. American Government/Honors Economics with Tom Pagley
Period 6: English IV Honors with Linda Friday
Period 7: Journalism IV with Mae Bennett


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