The following are highlights of the school tour provided by Eugene Brown with contributions from Marsha Clinard Boast:
- There were about 25 of us on the tour.
- No more “UP” and “DOWN” stairways!! What a shock.
- The new principal Karen Boran was our tour guide.
- She spent a lot of time at the beginning briefing us on the new security system. Everyone now enters the school through the Ash Street entrance which is locked the minute school starts.
- We were all impressed with her. She’s one tough cookie. She came from an urban high school in south Chicago a couple of yours ago.
- She mentioned a couple of items that needed her attention when she arrived: many students showing up late to school and the issue of inappropriate dress (seems that wearing clothing with Native American logos is one particular problem).
- She was very proud of her students’ accomplishments in art, drama, and stagecraft.
- Then it was on to the old (1929) and new (1969) parts of the school. There’s huge swimming pool now and a new gym. It was hard to recognize anything, though, even the old gym.
- The only thing that most people DID remember was the “aud” which looked virtually the same.
- Frankly, the classrooms and shop areas looked a bit old-fashioned and crowded.
- Seems they are operating at 125% capacity. If they get any more students, the only way they can be served is with trailers or classes that meet after the usual dismissal time.
- It’s still the most desirable high school in the city. Perhaps many of the students are attracted by its extensive curriculum includingJapanese, jewelry making, and engineering. There seemed to be a focus on getting a job after graduation along with the traditional emphasis on college preparation.
- They have 100 clubs including a Native American club and, of all things, a Beyoncé club. To handle all this, they have divided the School into four units (each named for one of the streets bordering the school) each with its own social worker and psychologist.
- The demographics of the student population (now comprising almost 2,500 students compared with half that number 60 years ago) is very different from that when we were students
- For one thing, there are large numbers of African-American students whose parents have moved to the area from Chicago, and there are food bank and school supply closets with resources for the students from impoverished families and students who are homeless.