Friends and loved ones

The old school

On the train the other day I overheard two students from my old high school, talking about the pros and cons of various teachers. I had to chuckle when a couple of familiar names popped up: Mr Kite and Ms Lester. Still there, 18 years after I left. (Gawd. 18 years. It’s a long time.)

I assume it was the last day for year 12s the day before. As I went past I noted big banners up — something about Year 12 (no doubt proclaiming how great they were) along with some kind of politically satirical slogans about North Korea. Glad to see the students of today are switched-on to world politics. (Ho yes, I do sound like an old man when I say things like that.)

The school has many traditions, including a very active Old Boys Association (which I’m ashamed to say I haven’t been a paid member of for some time… maybe I should rejoin). I’ve been pondering the fact that in all probability, my kids won’t get to go there, because entry — by exam, with the school picking the brightest — is very, very competitive.

And it’s getting moreso every year, which I’ve noted via some of the discussions I’ve heard from their students on other occasions… one I recall was not discussing the latest popular music, computer games or TV shows, but something extremely complicated (that I certainly couldn’t understand) in the field of mathematics.

But ultimately it’s not wearing the same old school tie that’s most important, it’s the quality of the education, and I’m confident my kids will get that where they’re going, and with the bonus that, like my old school it’s also government, so I won’t be paying through the nose to do it.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

2 replies on “The old school”

Funny thing, I’d been thinking about the old school recently, myself. Something about this being a sign of reaching middle age comes to mind but I push that thought right back into the rear of the cortex, along with other nasty thoughts. I know that I feel very grateful to have gone to that school – especially considering the scummy state schools I’d gone to prior to it. It was looking kind of ragged at the time that I was there – massively underfunded – but had received lots of funding since then, with shiny new buildings and a total revamp of the grand old brick main building.

What I also thought was that despite all of the talk of the brilliance of MHS students most of those that I know of have gone on to have perfectly average middle-class lives, living in Glenhuntly with a wife and two and a half kids and voting Liberal. Sure, there is Lindsay Fox and Simon Crean and Sir John Eccles but they are very much the exception (and there are none from my year that seem to be headed for anything resembling greatness). It would be interesting to know how people’s lives would have differed if they’d had a bad flu the day of the entrance exam and had fluffed it. I certainly wonder how my life would have gone.

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