My Journey – Day 3

Think way back to the 70’s…seems so long ago doesn’t it? Time for high school – gasp! Moving from Junior High to High School definitely put me outside of my comfort zone. As a parent, I don’t remember the stress that school put on me most days, because it is far behind me, but they were stressful times. New school, new friends, fitting in, finding your place in life. After all, soon you would be out on your own. Back then parents did not let their kids live with them for eternity – you got a job, went to college or went in the armed services. That was that!

I was fortunate that my high school, Northland High School, home of the Vikings, had a program they offered entitled I.O.E. – intensive office education. I believe that high schools in the current age need to offer more vocational programs for those kids who either do not want to go on to college or can’t do so. Otherwise, they go out into the world into a part-time, low wage job to be stuck there until an opportunity to be trained falls in their laps (doesn’t happen often) or they can go to college to learn a skill. I recently helped someone put together statistics from a survey that West-Mec had done, and the results were sobering. Most employers said they had a hard time finding qualified employees from the young folks coming out of high school. Poor math, communication, spelling, business savvy and common sense skills made it difficult to place them within their organizations. This is not good news.

In my days in high school, I spent the majority of my day in I.O.E., where we learned all aspects of being a secretary. Shorthand, which is a dying skill, basic accounting, typing accurately, spelling and more. My teacher didn’t like me very much though and my mother worked at the school – a bad combination! I was in marching band and concert band – played the clarinet. I can still hear our band director – Mr. McAfee, yelling “take it back and do it again!” God, I hated those words but he whipped us into shape. He’d make a good physical ed director. These were the days of The Age of Aquarius and we were oblivious to the things going on around us – the civil rights movement, wars and protests and a dramatic change in our country, in its music and attitudes. Flower power man! Weren’t much drugs in school back then, just some kids out in the parking lot drinking Boones Farm Wine. Our major source of entertainment was hanging out at Friendlys Ice Cream Shop and going roller skating. Ah, those were the days. I drove a ’63 Corvair convertible but had to take my driver’s license in a Lincoln Continental Mark IV, which was about as big as a whale! I graduated in ’75 without having to take Algebra, Chemistry or Biology – all subjects that scared me to death. Now I wished I had challenged myself and my children make fun of me because I know absolutely no Algebra, but that suited me find back then. After all, what secretary needs to do Algebra – I could type circles around anybody. I graduated at 17, got a full-time job at Acceleration, my parents co-signed on an apartment for me, and out into the world I went.

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