I never participated in any of the events that were uniquely “senior” throughout the entire year. If one knows me, he is aware that I rarely do things without purpose, especially if the amount of effort required is more than the amount of satisfaction to be gained by doing the task. It’s not laziness its just well, doing things efficiently in my mind. Nonetheless, despite not even going to the graduation ceremony, I enjoyed my senior year, which turned out to be unique in its own way.
The most noticeable academic change in senior year was the assortment of teachers for my classes. Unlike the lower level classes which usually have a number of instructors to teach the material, my senior classes had some of the smartest, scariest department heads in the whole school- The most notable of which being Mrs. Jay. Now I had heard horror stories about Mrs. Jay since freshman year, such as “She tosses your essay in the garbage if she sees a sentence fragment” or “She assigns a twenty essay project to you!” …Boy do I wish the latter wasn’t true!
To be honest, Mrs. Jay is at the same time one of the smartest and funniest person I have ever met. She has a stern, owlish look that burns into your head when she looks at you with her stern face (or what became known as the “Jay look”). She also has the demeanor of a classic Halloween witch, making students afraid of her, and leading some to speculate that she lives in a dark castle tower with vultures circling it. Only later did we find out that she used to teach at Hightower High School, a school not known for having the most pleasant students in the world. Heck, we’d joke that the people at Hightower who would dare to stand up to Mrs. Jay would never have their bodies found!
But, it’s because of her stern demeanor and intelligence that make Mrs. Jay so funny and loveable. One time, a student messenger came in saying “I has a question that Mrs. Caplan aksed” and Mrs. Jay gave him her look, freezing him in his steps. After a moment’s silence, all she says is, “I have a question that Mrs. Caplan asked” and made her little “hmf!” sound. Another time, right before our exams, Mrs. Jay told us, “I just have one thing to say to you guys…” hoping to help her out, a student in the class finished her sentence “Good luck?” Turns out that “No. Read Hedda Gabler by Monday,” was the teacher’s actual response. To be honest, it really is difficult to explain on paper but really, Mrs. Jay… I’mnot gonna forget her! I love you Mrs. Jay, but if you somehow read this, please don’t grade it! T-T
Mrs. Jay aside, that class was actually pretty tough. I wasn’t kidding about the 20 essay project earlier. Granted, it was assigned months and months before the deadline, but it turned out that 98% of the class still procrastinated (something that happens every year with her “epic project). Suddenly, large amounts of students started to be absent to their senior classes for “unknown” reasons. Since everybody (including the teachers) knew they were skipping classes and that they would mysteriously have notes from their parents saying that they were sick, the sickness became dubbed Jay-itis. Thank goodness I did not contract it, but I did have to pull an all-nighter finishing my essays (albeit one day early). It was something I hadn’t done before so I employed a number of tactics to keep me awake, one of which consisted of listening to annoying songs such as the Lucky Star OP. Throughout the night, I spoke often with my friend who was in the same boat as me. As I neared the completion of the last essay, I looked up at my clock to see 6:20 AM, the normal time I woke up. Strangely enough, I felt unusually invigorated for the rest of the day.
Now, another notable class was my Chemistry II class. I have had the teacher Mr. Hinote (who ironically has a low-pitched voice) every year since freshman year except Junior year. Needless to say, he knows me quite well and my tendency to be obsessive about rounding properly during chemical problems. If you ask anyone, Mr. Hinote is definitely the coolest science teacher around, period. He has a general air of being laid back and teaches class at a pretty easy rate. I remember a few times during freshman year, he would write on the board “You can do anything you want as long as you do not bother me” and would sit at his computer for the rest of the class. If that isn’t cool enough, he is a total sci-fi fan. I know you’re thinking “Aha! Vyers and Hinote are both sci-fi fans! Hilarity ensues!” Exactly.
Mr. Hinote and I are total fans of Star Trek. At the end of the year, we had a project where we had a chance to research anything chemistry related. While most of the class picked basic concepts such as glass and rockets for easy grades, my partner and I decided to research something both Hinote and I were interested in: antimatter. For those of you who don’t know, antimatter is the basis for warp propulsion in Star Trek. Throughout the project, Mr. Hinote would constantly hover around our table and interject his own theories and other helpful information for our research. Both my group and Hinote were thoroughly enjoying the project. It got to a point where he would secretly embed an obscure Star Trek quote in his dialogue just so I could pick it out and cite it. I picked out quotes from movies number II, III, IV, VI, and XI. Only once did he trick me with a Star Trek: The Original Series quote! Gah Hinote! x3
Speaking of Hinote, I have to mention that his freshman class was just as enjoyable, if not more. During that class, my lab group would always finish the work quickly, and hang around for the sole purpose to mess around. Notable tasks that arose due to our boredom were: Trying to “flood the school,” racing paper boats, playing poker, whacking Alex on the head for failing at an online game we would always play, and trapping ants in little bubbles of water (sometimes HCl). Once, Hinote [must have been bored and] announced that we would have an Iron Chef competition the next day and it would be no grade at all (not even extra credit). Naturally, none of us at the table brought anything except this one guy who ended up being the target of all our pranks (because he was the only one who would fall for them).
Jeb brought all these ingredients and tasty treats like marshmallows and chocolate… only to discover that he didn’t bring any utensils. As he scrambled to make “Texas Toast” on a chemistry hot plate (which he completely burned by the way), me, Bobby, Jake, and Alex took out his marshmallows and chocolates and began eating them. Of course, Bobby had to take it to the next level and start making smores on a lab Bunson Burner. This evolved to completely setting the marshmallows on fire and placing them in Alex’s mouth. Good times, haha. During more serious days, we would concentrate on messing with Jeb because we knew he could take it. We would often tell him to get twice the amount of materials for his reactions so they would react violently because of his tendency to ask us what to do rather than read the instructions himself. He never did learn… I mean, he had the gall to ask us for answers on a “simple machines quiz” where we had to simply identify what type of simple machine a household object was. He ended up putting a baseball bat was a wedge, a steering wheel a pulley, and a set of stairs as a lever.
While we are on the subject of dim-wits, I believe it notable to mention Matt of our Computer Science I class. The class was a Java based programming course which was known to be easy (mostly everyone had A’s). To put it simply, Matt was bad at it. He became known as the “Java Joke” and could barely printline the desired outputs. One of his most notable achievements was the 0% he got on the 10 question quiz where he tried his best. He ended up dropping out with a 43% after the first semester. However, Matt’s spirit lives on! (But probably not how he would like it). The term MATT became an acronym for the Most Academically Torpid Teenager. In fact, MATT became an insult in the class and in future Computer Science classes (many stupid mistakes would be referred to as MATT errors). Upon talking to Matt later, he claimed that he thought that Computer Science I was a class where you build computers, not program. Oddly enough the FBI came to his house a few months after because he disconnected a Maple Story GM. True story.
I’m thinking of all four of my years now and I can honestly think of one more class that stood out and wasn’t a typical, mundane period. The people who have seen me on IRC know that my Government teacher is not your typical teacher. Mrs. Ellington… ah another one I wont forget. She had strict rules about not using clicking pens because “they are annoying” and not using blue ink because “it is tacky.” Originally, I was dreading US Government because I am bored to death by all material related to social studies, but Mrs. Ellington made it fun. She made it a point to discuss common annoyances in life such as idiots walking on the wrong side of the hallway and overt PDA and would have us report it to her if we saw it so she could make a fuss at them (in a semi-playful way). Every Wednesday, we would be presented with her weekly “etiquette tip” and how to behave ourselves in many situations.
She was really hyper for a teacher… strange too. She made a weird comically-irritated face if you make a small mistake (dubbed the “Ellington lips”) and would tell you to stop talking by threatening to “beat your face in.” Despite her oddities, her warmth and genuine concern for the students earned her the nickname “Mama Ellington.” On the day of our exam, she baked us corn bread with fudge… yum! Before we left, she gave us a little slip of paper with a saying to remember her by. Here it is digitized as with all the things I want to remember are:
“One of life’s best coping mechanisms is to know the difference between an inconvenience and a problem. If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you’ve got a problem. Everything else is an inconvenience. Life is inconvenient. Life is lumpy. A lump in the oatmeal, a lump in the throat and a lump in the breast are not the same kind of lump. One needs to learn the difference.”
Well, that’s pretty much all the classes I notably enjoyed the last four years. There is one part that I must say, I have enjoyed even more: lunch. Haha, no seriously. As a freshman who moved to the school, I did not really have any friends when I first started. At lunch, I was eating all alone near the end of the table near another guy equally alone. I was minding my business when this loud-mouth girl (who must have been a sophomore) comes and yells at both of us, loosely saying “What the heck?! Both of you are eating alone! Talk! Become friends!” and marched off. Well, me and the guy David started an uneasy conversation and became friends for the rest of our time in school. Of course, soon I became friends with his friends, and found a little more on my own so sooner or later I felt a part of my new school. Thanks random loud-mouth girl!
Though of course as seniors, we had to up the ante. This past year, my lunch table was insane… in fact my friend toyed with the thought of making a comic out of it. Pretty much the best way to sum up the strangeness of it all would be to list some of the things that have happened at lunchtime:
- The trash lady (who we think the only thing she can say in English is “trash”) was dubbed the Basura Lady and became the primary antagonist in our imaginary role-plays at the table. She tends to come chanting “trash…trash…” at the most inopportune times, causing Jay to break into a fit of laughter.
- A girl at the table named Zhenzheng Zhou gets happens to get hit by everything we launch, including things we throw in the complete opposite direction. Once, we threw something to one end of the table, which they promptly threw back, hitting her.
- Katie thinks I am crazy and was shocked to discover I was rank 9 out of the 475 large senior class.
- We always tried our best to raise the entropy of the universe.
- Jay once stalked a girl out of boredom, noting down her outfit and what she ate every day until he lost the paper.
… yeah. Random, but that’s our lunch table!
Now, if you’ve read this far, you might be thinking, “If you have so many great memories, why didn’t you attend your graduation ceremony?” Well that’s just it… with all these great memories, I didn’t have to. All my life, I have moved to different houses and transferred to different schools because my father lost a lot at work due to corrupt CEOs. I have had the privilege of staying at this school since my freshman year, the longest I have stayed in one place for a very very long time. I was able to see my friends from last year without having to make new ones and say hi to teachers that I have had in the past. The graduation ceremony is just a cause for celebration because society treats it as such. While it may have been once true that one could survive in this world with a single measly diploma, it is no longer true, and should no longer be a cause for celebration. All we are doing is moving on and starting the next chapter of our lives. That’s good enough for me.