reflections above the water

the pool, hot on a september slab of concrete. a speaker singing a distinctly weekend song, listing back towards the heat of summer struggling against the onset of school. but we just repeatedly submerged ourselves and lie on hot things in the sun roasting to save a bit of heat, sort of fattening up for the winter. Peter was ripped of course, how could he not have a six pack at 16, he’s just that kinda guy. strong silent type, super cool, badass; also relentlessly nerdy, shy as can be, and definitely one of the guys you have to know well to know at all. he’s perched like a lizard on the high dive rolling over to toast each side, occasionally and jarringly rolling off the diving board upsetting the water 10 feet below and the less fit, less shy, me on the low dive (because heights aren’t my thing.) 

you feel like the sun is shining through you when you lay on a black diving board like that, the surface burns your skin and the sun does its worst on the other side, you lie there. the closest we will ever feel to a cold blooded animal, or a zucchini in the midst of the broiling of a lifetime. we just lie there thinking that maybe if we didn’t move time might pass us by and leave us happily stranded in constant farewell to the pregnant bliss of the weekend. and teal, blues in abundance like a brochure to mykonos, both the sky and the water both are cloudless and still moving.

in those peaceful hours i saw fleetingly like a stag in your peripheral, the adolescence people tell you to hold onto. we did. we savored it. an experience we never talked about partly because it might seem gay and partly because what would we say. in a way it was my connection to the schoolboys i see in black and white, with my white gloves flipping through ancient yearbooks. content to lie on a hot rock by the creek with a friend you have been through hell and back with. i saw a glimpse in that moment, a glimpse of the school we would’ve attended had we been born in 1900.

Peter never chose me. he was content with the friends he had, i wasn’t cool, and i idolized him. terrible way to make a friend. but i just kinda showed up, next door, and i would just come and sit with him, uncomfortable as all hell at first, but within days we became happy to distract one another and would spend study hall sneaking back and forth between our rooms talking about rock climbing season and expensive climbing shoes. like two freshman boys did in a hundred years prior, one running into the others room discussing the intricacies of a new radio. wasting a two hour study period and leaving homework for 5 am the next morning before we went to muck their horses. and tomorrow we’d plan to sleep through study hall as a result of our long day but instead chose to scour ebay for deals on aforementioned climbing shoes.

 we weren’t fast friends, but when we needed to study we could sit in silence and study and that was comfortable. also wasting our time nerding out over lame climbing equipment, but both were necessary evils and a part of our lives. for me silence was always the enemy of friendship because good friends always had something to talk or argue about. but Peter liked to listen, to say nothing, to test if it would be awkward, sometimes it was, most of the time it wasn’t. but now when i see him once a month silence is my enemy again. i want him to tell me everything, tell me the gossip, what’s happened since i left, who’s with who, who hates who, funny stories. and Peter just wants to be with his friend and sit and eat obscene quantities of brie and just exist and pretend nothing happened.

Boys Rule, Girls Drool.

It’s a well know fact to all teachers that the average boy is behind in the industrial world, beginning in Pre-K, and lasting through to college.

Boys, simply put, haven’t been doing nearly as well as girls in school. Statistics have shown that, on average, boys’ grades consist of mainly C’s and D’s, while girls hold more college degrees.

This phenomenon is a growing epidemic in all countries, and all cultures. 70 to 80 percent of the students accepted to Advanced Placement (AP) classes are girls. This increasingly large gap doesn’t pertain only to inner-city boys, it includes boys from each and every corner of American Society, and beyond.

Photo Credit: heartbreakhypnotist.com

This education crisis has been the focus of large schools, which are actively trying to curve the problem. Some blame ethics and how the social dynamic of school affects young male students, who see athletics as their way to shine. Others blame the school system as a whole for failing to provide boys with a system that adequately suits them, and demand a larger outcry for boys, just as there was for girls thirty years ago.

Jefferson Academy in Long beach C.A. has taken a different approach, by putting students into gender-separated classes. For boys, they have placed a larger emphasis on academics as opposed to sports. So far, the school has seen a large success rate in test scores and overall effort.

Though schools across the country are hesitant to apply this practice, this agenda has been proved so far to be beneficial. As a boy with coed classes, I don’t believe I would want to have my class suddenly split.

If this were the only way to resolve this issue, it should happen with a new generation, rather than the current generation enjoys the luxury of mixed classes and would be opposed to anything but.

Research also points out how an emphasis on academic success may be just as beneficial in the long run. With similar intelligence rates among boys and girls, the academic gap could be eliminated through better parenting, and a greater emphasis on boys in class.

To what extremes would the school system go in order to help young boys succeed? That is the ethical question that the next generation, and America as a whole, may have to face.

Choices Follow Up

So I was thinking again yesterday, occasionally it can be dangerous when I do that, but it wasn’t, it rather was quite productive.

I went home and turned on the TV and was looking for some sport to watch being as the NHL is STILL locked out… cough* cough* Bettman (still waiting).

Any who, I saw something called “A Football Life” and turned it on.

It is a series who follows a different player every week, but it shows their life through the season.

Yesterday’s episode was featuring Ray Lewis, “the Ravens 16 year defensive soul,” as the show called him.

He is actually someone I can admire and look up to.

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What Holds Me Together

High above, amongst the stars,

God checked his watch,

and realized it was time.

Time to make a story,

my story,

mine.

He wove together a string of trinkets,

some rusty,

some silver,

some gold,

and some of precious stones.

Of those trinkets,

there were many places.

Houses and apartments,

studios

and condominiums.

Restaurants, schools, corners and alleys.

There was a bit of Mexico.

Koreatown, too.

Some wormy grass,

and golf courses where the deer roamed at night.

And of course,

tied closely to these homes,

was my mother’s cooking,

my father’s laughter,

my sister’s pranks.

And there were my fears.

My anxieties,

all intertwined with my passions,

my soul,

and whatever else that stirs me and moves me and lifts me..

My friends and enemies,

my lovers and ex-boyfriends.

Teachers, mentors, coaches, neighbors.

Mailmen, taxi drivers, pilots, a Marine.

There was much joy.

But,

there were also tears and hardship,

loneliness and strife.

Yelling and screaming,

punching and throwing.

The threads mangled and fried.

But soon enough,

God, with his knowing hands,

his fingers so gentle,

created a piece.

And those loose threads,

they all straighten out to create

one magnificent picture.

One that is unique.

One that is me.

mine.

School and Freedom

Just now, a freshman girl from China interviewed me about freedom at OVS. It was fascinating for me to have a citizen of a communist country pay attention to my insights about such “forbidden” topic, freedom.

The questions were pretty straightforward. Here are some: What can you do to improve freedom at OVS? Do you think OVS has a lot of freedom? What do you do during your freedom at OVS? What is your first impression of OVS?

Our school try to provide the students with many opportunities even if some might disagree.

But, are we given with the right amount of freedom?

Yes, we are given with a lot of free time. So, does that necessarily mean we possess the rights to our freedom?

Pondering for a brief moment, I found myself caught in the conflict between individuality and society.

Balancing out these two is crucial. And, here I relate these thoughts to OVS.

Integrity. Individuality. Utilitarian society. Liberty. Morals. Coercion. Censorship.

If I were to list these words to describe OVS in a certain order of relevancy, I would have to weigh out a lot of OVS student handbook regulations, American societal standard, and realistic circumstances where all these regulations would be implicated. To that end, I am not going to organize them here anyway.

What if, a girl or a boy student decides to wear a plain shirt with a single word, “gay” or “lesbian”, printed?

Would this behavior be interpreted as an act of rebellion, a violation to the profession as a student, or nothing?

Just wondering.