School Has Returned with Happy & Sad Days As A Senior

09:44 August 21, 2018
By: Keith John Paul Horcasitas

With summer fading and most kids now back in school, I'm especially reminded of high school seniors getting ready for their big year!  And I can’t help but reminisce about “Happy Days” like times long ago that are embedded in the grey matter.  A buddy from my De La Salle High School days, was able to track me down recently per Facebook, so this has certainly highlighted a trigger of such memories. 

A very serious “maturity awakening” event occurred in our senior year. It happened that “Bill,” a fellow senior, used to keep his classic fancy sports car waxed and shiny all the time – many of us longed for a car like his or just to take a ride in it. 

As most of us have probably done at one time or another, “Tom,” another senior, sat on the front hood of Bill’s car one morning before school to take a little joy ride while Sam was in the passenger seat. Sam noted that they were totally unprepared for when Bill started doing a little playful revving up of his engine and going no more than 5 – 10 mph with Tom on board. 

Right around that time, I was on my way to school that day on my motorcycle and coming down that street when I saw someone I couldn’t recognize lying faced down on the ground next to Bill’s car. As I came around to see what was happening, some EMTs were heading that way. Sam and Bill told me about the very unfortunate circumstance that had occurred: Tom had fallen down off of Bill’s car. 

Subsequently that day, Tom died. All of the school was shocked, and we did our best to comfort one another in coping with the situation. All of the families directly involved in this were obviously heartbroken – only prayer and time could provide any healing to the situation. 

On a much lighter side, Homecoming Week for seniors and freshmen was greatly anticipated for. Being a freshman, we all began to hear stories from sophomores, juniors and especially seniors about what lay ahead for us. This taunting was innocent, and the school administration laid down the rules about what boundaries had to be upheld - whether for freshmen or seniors. 

Freshmen were obliged to do simple tasks like carrying books for a senior for half an hour before and after school. And silly things like dancing with another freshman student while singing the school's fight song were pretty common. 

Another Homecoming attribute for freshmen that was embarrassing involved having to dress in an odd manner during Homecoming week - beanie hat, a long sleeved shirt, short pants, and a tie! I would get many riders on the Street Car laughing as I would get on and off to school. 

So after the first four rough but fun days of Homecoming Week, we looked forward to Friday, the day of the Homecoming Football Game. But what we really looked forward to was Kangaroo Court and "The Line." Any freshmen who were caught not doing any reasonable requests from seniors that week had to go in front of the whole school in the gym that Friday morning for a Kangaroo Court! 

Basically, the court was made up leadership form the senior class who would quickly, in front of the whole school, make a proclamation like, "Billy Bob has been found guilty of treason and is sentenced to ...." One freshman was shown live worms in a container and then, after being blindfolded, has to eat candy worms in a switched but similar jar. Another friend was tied to a chair and had honey poured on him and then had marshmallows thrown at him by the court members! 

All of the pranks were done in jest and never was the victim in any way forced to do something against his will or done anything to in an inappropriate manner. Also, the school's administration were monitoring all of these events. 

My real favorite memory from that week was "The Line." After Kangaroo Court, all freshmen were gathered in the Gym locker's area and told to put on the junk clothes that we had brought for the event. Essentially, the street between the school and the next property was closed off to traffic and a straight path was made in the street with rope holders. 

Every senior had a large plastic garbage can filled with flour and water in it - 1/2 of the flour that seniors brought to school was donated to a charity. About 10 feet separated from where the seniors were roped off from the freshmen line. 

So the freshmen started walking down the roped path slowly and were inundated with hand-thrown chunks of flour paste. What could we do? Simple pick up some flour paste and hurl it back at the seniors which is what we all did. Teachers helped keep the line moving and seniors from getting out of hand, but that didn't mean that they weren't fair targets! 

After we all made it through the line and had a blast, other teachers were positioned on ladders near the Gym to hose us all off! Unfortunately, I forgot to put some bryl creme or Vaseline on my hair before going in the line, so I had a very hard time combing out the dried flour! 

While all of us freshmen had initially hated the thought of Hazing week, it actually turned out to be a real school unifier. Sure, some seniors and freshmen did get out of hand, but they were the minority and had many detentions to show for it. 

The vast majority of us freshmen really were psyched up as we went to the Homecoming Game that Friday night. We could all come together for a cause and had gotten to know each other so quickly - with all the class levels. 

My only regret is that when we became seniors, we still could do the weekday interrogation stuff to freshmen, but "The Line" was taken away by the school administrators. The freshmen really missed our on some special fun!

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