When I was in high school in the last century, Fridays were special. In the fall there were football matches, which meant that the players of the football team wore their jerseys to school. Cheerleaders, short skirts and everything in between.
Most Fridays, fall and winter, would mean there would be a cheering rally at the end of the day. In previous centuries, cheering rallies were organized events where students cheered on players from different teams instead of themselves or their respective classes. If you haven’t attended a high school cheer rally in the past three decades, you wouldn’t understand what I mean.
We all liked cheer rallies because we had some free time at the end of the day and we could scream and scream and let off some steam. Plus, we were from Newton and we really couldn’t be prouder.
But every Friday, whatever the season, we started the day with a program in the chapel. That’s right. I said a chapel program – with a prayer and so forth. Yes, the name of God was called upon practically every day in Newton County High School and it didn’t seem to hurt anyone.
Following: The Grand Hotel is the crown jewel of Michigan’s Mackinac Island
I liked the chapel because, well, for the same reason I liked the lively gatherings. More time outside of class and more time to socialize and I was nothing if not a social person in high school. The ironic thing is that when I became an AP US history teacher at Heritage High School, I was fuming and raving every time our principal, Greg Fowler, even suggested having a program. assembly. I couldn’t bear to give up instruction time. Looking back, I would have liked to have a longer memory. I think students could benefit from more chapel programs and assemblies – and cheering gatherings – if only to help them learn to behave at such events.
Many students these days do not receive home instruction on how to behave in a crowd. This shows.
But we had such an education at Newton High in the 1960s. I never remember our principal, Homer Sharp, ever raising his voice, but when he opened his mouth, everyone listened, and God do not please anyone to show the slightest disrespect in his presence.
Some of my favorite high school memories happened in the chapel programs. Once or twice a year, Basil Rigney’s Blue Rambler Band performed. In all the schools where I worked, the children in the group were among the best in the school.
Once a year at Newton High the Key Club would produce a chapel program and you had better take the men and women off the infield when that day came – especially if Fred Alexander had something to do with the planning of the program. .
My favorite chapel program of all time, however, was when Linda Faye came to NCHS. Linda Faye was Atlanta’s first weather girl and she showed up to teach us all about weather. She showed up in the first miniskirt most of us have ever seen, much to the delight of the 12th grade boys who sat in the folding chairs that the first grade physical education classes set up. in front of the permanent chairs at the edge of the stage.
It only took about a minute for Mr. Sharp to step in and escort Ms. Faye off the stage to complete her presentation from ground level. That was the time.
Mr. Eddie Najjar, one of our advisers, sometimes performed in the chapel. Mr. Najjar was a tall man but was surprisingly light on his feet and I loved watching him dance around the stage when he put on his little skits. He had one about getting peanut butter on the roof of his mouth which I borrowed and used for years in Bert Adams’ campfire programs.
“The first thing you do is grab a spoon. Any size of spoon will do.
I wish I could see him do this skit one more time. Mr. Najjar always spoke on Fridays before THS was administered on Saturdays and he always gave the same advice for doing well. “Get a good night’s sleep and select a good group of parents. “
That was the time. Oh, to relive them just one more time. Youth is really wasted on young people. And I wonder what Linda Faye is doing these days?