Missing the Big Picture

Missing the Big Picture by Luke Donovan Read Free Book Online

Book: Missing the Big Picture by Luke Donovan Read Free Book Online
Authors: Luke Donovan
days later, Dan called and asked if I wanted to go to the corner store where we used to hang out. I was pleasantly surprised that he actually called me. Since I started going to private school, I would always have to initiate contact. Later, I learned that Dan actually told some people that he hung out with me because I would give him a dollar every time we saw each other.
    So, I said that I would go to Dan’s house and we then walked to the store. When we got there, I realized that I’d been set up—Evan, Eric, and some of their other friends were there for a rematch. I didn’t want to fight, and I left alone, without Dan. That was the last time I ever spent with Dan or Eric.
    There were only a few days of awkwardness between Evan and me. We had all the same classes together, and he apologized and I forgave him. My number of friends drastically decreased. I was shy, and a lot of people just labeled me as a “dork.” I spent a lot of time alone watching television. We had only one television at my house, and when my mother wanted to watch a Lifetime movie, I had to watch it as well. Since I was going to an all-boys high school, there would be some days that Valerie Bertinelli or Jaclyn Smith would be the only girl who I would come into contact with.
    I had a hard time fitting in at Saint John’s. I didn’t play any sports and wasn’t athletic. Not being a jock was the school’s cardinal sin. Many of the students liked being in a small school so that they could get more attention playing sports.
    There were, of course, cliques at this all-boys school. One student who had a huge following was George, a tall African American who loved to create his own rhymes and lyrics. In between classes he would often sing these songs, such as “Making your butt cheeks feel wet, making your butt cheeks feel wet.” He would also randomly say, “I wave my fist,” thereby convincing several other students to start waving their fists, although nobody knew why they were doing so. George also hypothesized what it would be like to have a student who was in a wheelchair trying to march with us. Most of the entire class started laughing as he pretended to be in a wheelchair: “left wheel, right wheel.” George concluded that if somebody in a wheelchair ever went to Saint John’s, he would have to transfer because everybody would make fun of him so much.
    Even though the school taught Catholic values, many of the students were members of different Christian faiths. Still others were Hindu, Jewish, or Muslim. One student who was somewhat of a freshmen celebrity was a Hindu individual whose parents were immigrants from India. He would often say that Hindus were naturally smarter because they worshiped the god of education. He actually had one of the lowest grades in the school. He was picked on frequently, and in sophomore year somebody stole his math textbook and defecated on it. Luckily, the school reimbursed him.
    The 1997–98 school year was memorable in the school’s history. In September, Brother Anthony became principal only a few weeks before school was to begin after the previous principal died suddenly. Brother Anthony was not a popular principal, and he made negative comments at the father/son dinner in March 1998, specifically about the weakness of the St. John’s academics. The comments stemmed from an article in the local newspaper, the Albany Times Union , which reported on private and public schools’ standardized test scores, specifically, the New York Regents exams. Saint John’s fought back, saying that since 1980, 100 percent of the student body had been accepted into colleges. Some of the colleges that the students were accepted into, however, did not decline anybody.
    Another thing I had to get used to at Saint John’s was the teachers announcing everyone’s grades to the class. The rationale was that it created competition to push students to do their best. I have a few problems with this technique: First,

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