School Daze

The e-mail from my friend Stan in Orlando was short and succinct: "I found a copy of the Eagle Eye on the bus this week. Would you like me to send it to you?" I e-mailed back and told Stan to send it to me ASAP. I hadn't seen an Eagle Eyein years and was eager to see one again. And just what is an Eagle Eye? You'd be forgiven if you thought it was yet another government "intelligence" agency. It's actually the student newspaper at Orlando's Edgewater High School, my old alma mater. When I said that I hadn't seen a copy of the Eagle Eye in years, I was not being totally accurate. I was a staff writer for the paper back in 1976 and 1977, which - if my rusty math skills are correct - is about a three-decade span of time. Ouch! Age ain't nothin' but a number, right?

Stan mailed the newspaper to me promptly but since he lives in Orlando and I live in Bangkok it took ten days to reach me. Once I had the coveted newspaper in my hands, I read it from cover to cover. Perusing the Eagle Eyebrought back a flood of high school newspaper memories. I remembered all those afternoons in journalism class, writing articles for the paper. I was in the sports department, writing up roundups of football and basketball games, and anything else that fell into the category of a competitive event (bowling, talent shows, you name it!). Being a music freak, I also got to write album reviews, critiquing the latest records (remember those black vinyl beauties?) by artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Bad Company, and Led Zeppelin.

These days, it's safe to say, the song does not remain the same. Music changes and so do people. And that's the beauty of time; things change and we keep learning from new experiences. Reading the 2005 version of the Eagle Eyegave me valuable insight into the mindset of the digital generation youth. After living in Thailand for nearly a decade, it's safe to say that I'm more than a little out of touch with the typical American teenager. What are their dreams, hopes and fears? I found some of the answers in the newspaper I was reading. The copy of the Eagle Eye that Stan sent me was dubbed the "Senior Issue" and contained several pages of "reflections" by graduating staff members. One writer, Hanif Ali, described his high school experience as "a field of bewilderment riddled with landmines of sentiment, convoluted and altered by my naivety." That was good for a chuckle. But his closing line was what really caught my eye: "I find myself breathing in a new independence, and it's refreshing." It sounds like this kid might have a bright future in journalism.

Amidst the plethora of senior year remembrances, I was also pleased to see some good examples of editorial writing. In this day and age where so much of the American media appear to be nothing more than government mouthpieces, it's refreshing to see some intelligent dissent being written. Apparently not all of the young Eagle Eye staff writers are swallowing the propaganda the current government is spewing out. Some are challenging what they've been told, and writing honestly about what's on their mind. And that's something that I find very refreshing.


Jimbob said...

Hey Don, you probably remember that Edgewater journalism teacher Mrs. Carpenter and her husband co- owned the Great Southern Music Hall ! They lived right up the street from me in high school. She was a very cool teacher ( and a hottie to boot ! ) Got on my case one time when we came back to class reeking of reefer when we were supposed to be out selling ad space for the Eagle Eye ! That was as far as it went though, she never brought it up again.

Tom said...

Where's John? boohhoooo

Jimbob said...

Hurry back John---the natives are getting restless !!!

Bangkok Bertha said...

Really John, we miss you! You're not on tour with Condi are you?