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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2003        Friday, January 10 2003 

Jon Kennedy, webmaster A teen event

In early November I had a unique (for me) opportunity; the first time I'd returned to a high school classroom since my own graduation from Blacklick Township High 42 years ago. I've taught in many adult and college situations, beginning when I was only 25 and still hadn't yet finished graduate school, and peaking with a series of semester-long seminars for both undergraduates and graduate students at Stanford University in my mid-30's. But despite my years of working to and for teenagers through the teen column and later as an author, I hadn't been back to any high school.

This opportunity came through a teacher friend who thought it would be nice to let her classes of short story literature hear and discuss the writing craft, avocation, even lifestyle, with a writer and teacher of writing. So after we'd been talking together over coffee and she learned a bit about that part of my background, she invited me to visit and talk with two of her classes.

So much has changed among teenagers in general and in high schools in particular since 1960 that it's tempting to focus on that aspect of the experience. But for all the changes, there is still a lot that's familiar if you can remember your own years (so many old fogies seem to have long since forgotten ever being youngsters, but not me). My friend Lucille impressed me as an exceptional teacher, having struck good rapport with her classes and yet able to stay in gentle control, able to come across as more mentor than disciplinarian but able to play both roles with confidence. Seeing her navigate the class waters in the first half of our 90-minute sessions put me at ease and provided cues for how to conduct my time in front of the room.

The school, San Jose's Lynbrook, also struck me as above average, its students more like the classmates I remember from a generation past than most of the representatives of their age group seen on the sidewalks, at McDonalds, or in the malls. They were well-mannered, enthusiastic, cool and together, things I think most teenagers aspire to. Even outside Lucille's classroom, the same ambience came through. Like most California high schools, this one has no (or hardly any) "corridors" connecting the classrooms, but rather the schools are clusters of buildings connected by sidewalks, each classroom entered directly from outside,

And since today's postcard is full I'll take up some of these loose ends next week.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

 Beware of the bull

After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring. He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him. The moral: When you're full of bull, keep your mouth shut.

—Will Rogers
Sent by Sally Covolo

Thought for the day

Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier 'n puttin'it back in.

—Will Rogers
Sent by Sally Covolo

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