Wednesday, March 1, 2017

My Three-part Senior Year in High School

Part One

In 1961 my family and I moved from New Orleans to Bay St. Louis, MS, which I (at 11 years of age) thought was paradise. The Bay was a resort town with sandy beaches and a laid-back lifestyle. Over the next six years, I became involved in the student newspaper, helped with lights at the local amateur theater, and made 8mm movies with a neighbor friend. 

I started 12th grade at the newly-built Bay Senior High on Blue Meadow Road and was named editor of the student newspaper. My family was involved in nursery and landscaping services, and we had lots of friends and community involvements. There was even talk of my stepfather running for city councilman in Waveland.

Part Two

Then, one third of the way into my senior year, my stepfather got the opportunity to run a service station in Metairie, La. and that being his real career, we packed up and left Bay St. Louis and moved to Kenner, about a block from the airport. It was close enough to hear the jets reverse engines on the runways when they landed, after dumping a fine mist of kerosene all over our neighborhood during the process. 

I started school at the East Jefferson High School where I again joined the staff of the student newspaper. The all-boys high school had an entirely different mindset than Bay St. Louis, so it took me a while to fit in. My stepfather ran a small service station on Airline Highway. We managed to move away from the airport to a nicer place, but then three months later another job opportunity for both my parents opened up in Covington, and we packed and headed north across Lake Pontchartrain. 

Part Three

So the third part of my senior year of high school took place at Covington High School, where I joined the student newspaper staff and once again set out to explore my new world. Covington High was a lot different than East Jefferson, but a lot like Bay Senior High. At Covington High I had to take courses which, in Mississippi, were usually taken by sophomores and juniors, as well as Louisiana History and civics.

It was an amazing accomplishment for the school administrators to get everything together in time for me to get my high school diploma, crossing the stage at Covington High after only several weeks of attending there, but it happened. A few days later, I went to visit Bay St. Louis to attend the graduation ceremonies at Bay Senior High to see all my friends get their diplomas, but it was odd and not much fun. I should have been graduating with them, but I wasn't. I was taking pictures for the school yearbook instead (they needed the help.)

Back in Covington, I immediately started as a part-time summer sports reporter for the weekly Covington newspaper. I had no plans to go to college, but that was going to change at the last minute.

So there it was, three different high schools in one year, my senior year. It was an interesting 1968.