05 October 2015

Where did you go to school? 52Q W18

This week we will focus on the question:

Where did you go to school?

Good follow-up questions that go with this question are:
What was school like for you and what are some of your memorable experiences?
What were your favorite subjects in school and why?
What subjects did you like the least and why?
Who were some of your friends in school, what were they like, and what they are doing today?
If you went to college or a vocational school, where did you attend, and what subjects did you study?

It is interesting the information you can learn about a person based on the schools they attended. Last night I worked on an indexing project for schools in Oklahoma. The records I indexed had parents names and home addresses along with children's names, birth dates, ages, race, and gender. Sometimes the history of the school reflects the history of the people who attend the school.

I attended Provost Elementary School from kindergarten through sixth grade. Our mascot was the cougar which was appropriate for Provo, Utah. The school was named after Etienne Provost, a French Canadian explorer and trapper who is argued to be one of the first men of European descent to see the Great Salt Lake. The Provo river and Provo City were named after him. Provost live the end of his life in St. Louis, Missouri. He is considered a contemporary of Jim Bridger and Peter Skene Ogden.

Provost is one of 24 people memorialized on the This is the Place monument in the mouth of Emigration Canyon in Salt Lake City, Utah.

My memories of Provost are foggy. I remember Mr. Penrod who was my kindergarten teacher and eventually became principal. Mr. Shoemaker, my 5th grade teacher, who introduced me to the Apple computer and the 50 yard dash. I believe he also became a principal in the district. I had a relative who worked in the lunchroom. She is related to my grandma, Gloria Taylor Trotter. I cannot remember how they were related but I knew she watched out for me and loved me. We played games at recess like Red Rover and Pomp. I remember being very good at Pomp because I was a very fast runner and not so good at Red-Rover because I was small enough I couldn't break through the girl's arms. During the holidays the librarian would open the library early before school and a bunch of kids would go in and she would play the piano and we would sing Christmas carols. My friends Dick Dyer, Robbie Robertson, Bobbie Boyd, Murray O'Dell and I would sit on our skateboards and ride down the paved driveway in front of the school. The sixth graders were able to play in the band. I learned to play the Alto Saxophone but could not beat Tomika Young to be first chair. I had a crush on Tomika and once gave her my sister's new bear shaped earrings as a present, only to find out that Tomika did not have pierced ears. (Sorry about that Missy.) At the end of school year the sixth graders would tie the maypole and play the teachers in kickball, our class won the kickball game that year. I didn't much care for the maypole dance.

For 7th and 8th grades I attended Farrer Junior High School located on Center Street in Provo, Utah. We love our mountains. You can see Y Mountain and Squaw Peak directly behind the school. Mount Timpanogos is off to the left. Farrer got it's name from a Provo School Board member Bruce Farrer.

Photo taken, Tuesday, April 13, 2010 by PATRICK SMITH for the Daily Herald
In 2005 Farrer became an elementary school and in 2010 they tore down the old building and built a new school on the front field. When the new elementary school opened they changed the name from Farrer to Provo Peaks. I am not sure which is worse, naming a school after a school board member or a water park.

My memories of classes at Farrer are also foggy. I remember that I took two band classes, one for the sax and one for the clarinet. I was proud to be proficient at both instruments. I also remember dissecting a pig in class and I got sick. The mascot was an Eagle. The school had two giant ramps, on the east and west side, to get from the first floor to the second. There was also a staircase by the band room. I remember attending dances at the school. We didn't really dance we just kind of jumped around with our arms in the air to the beat of the song. I wanted to dance with a girl named Debbie Hill but just as I asked Michael Jackson's Thriller came on and she ran off to dance with her friends. I used to work for my lunch so in the mornings Dick Dyer and I would go in and set up the tables, and put the bags in the trash cans. For one year I went to school with my cousin Teri Jensen. She is my uncle Dick's daughter. We also played Buns Up, I was pretty good at that game.

When I was in junior high people would call the house phone and when I would answer they always thought I was my mom. Puberty plays mean tricks sometimes. Once when I was home the secretary from the school called and though I was my mom. It planted the seed of an idea. About a week later I decided I did not want to go to school so I called the secretary to pretend I was my mom to excuse me for the day. It didn't work, the secretary was not fooled and said, "Mat, I need to speak with your mother right now." I hung up the phone. I had a meeting with the principal the next day. I never tried anything like that again. For some reason I also associate my memory of Farrer with the movie Footloose. It was filmed in nearby Lehi, Utah and several students from my school said they were extras in the movie. I tried to cut and style my hair like Kevin Bacon. One time when Murray O'Dell and I were walking home from Farrer we found a bottle of alcohol next to horse pasture.  There was only a little left in the bottle. Murray was so excited to drink it. All I could think was that it was almost all backwash so I didn't try it. A boy cut off his index finger in woodshop, he lost it for good. We couldn't go in there for about a week. The boy had this cup shaped attachment to cover the scar. It was perfect for holding a joystick for video games. I thought he was the luckiest guy alive.

Timpview High School was named after the beautiful view of Mount Timpanogos. The Mascot is the Thunderbird and the sports programs are some of the best in the state. I played in the band for two years before dropping the class to focus on debate. We had a highly successful program until the year after I graduated when they killed the debate all together at the school. I attended most of the dances, learned to drive, and decided to go to college while a student here. I stopped hanging out with my neighborhood friends and started hanging out with Kim Brown, Jim Pier, and any girls that would allow. I dated several girls and burned a couple friends. In the off season for debate we would have a murder mystery and then a court case to determine the killer.  I felt out of the mainstream and rejected by most of the student body. I got suspended for fighting once with a kid we called food. I regret calling him food. I regret the fight. I think sometime when we feel picked on we pick on others to make ourselves feel better. I don't know why. I went to School and debated with Mike Lee, who became a U.S Senator for the State of Utah.

While at Timpview I traveled to Phoenix, San Francisco, Boston, and Berkeley. When I graduated I entertained scholarships from Harvard, Arizona State and Weber State. All of these schools were ranked in the top five nationally for debate with Weber State at the top spot.