My High School Academics

Recently I posted about my grade school experiences.  I thought I would continue on to talk about my high school.  I’m not expecting whoever comes across my blog to be enraptured with the details of my life, but I’ve come to realize that this blog is at least part personal journal.  Who knows?  Maybe one day my kids or grandkids will be interested in reading this.

After I graduated grade school, I went on to high school at Holy Rosary Academy in Louisville, KY. It wasn’t my first choice. I originally hoped to go to Assumption High School. First of all, I knew that very few girls from my grade school went on to Assumption and most went to Holy Rosary or Holy Cross High School, so I thought I could get a fresh social start at Assumption. Secondly, I didn’t want to go to HRA because my sister had graduated from there six years before and had a few problems with some of the teachers. I didn’t want to be compared to her, especially since she and I were not getting along at the time. I also knew that Assumption also had a slightly better academic reputation than Holy Rosary.

So, I took my high school placement test at Assumption. As I sat in my assigned class room, all of the girls already seemed to have friends. I realized that they had all come together from the various Catholic grade schools in that area of town. I was very insecure, and not a single person talked to me. I felt like I was just going to be shut out socially even more if I went there. When the test was over, I got in the car and cried to my mom that I didn’t know where I was going to school, but I wasn’t going there. I think my parents were relieved because Assumption’s tuition was more expensive and transportation would have been a real problem.

Ideally, I would have gone to Butler Traditional with my best friend Stacey, but I felt that public schools weren’t even an option. Looking back, I think my parents would have let me go if I really asked, but I don’t think I ever even broached the topic. A few months after the placement test I shadowed a friend of a friend who went to Holy Rosary for a day. It was really just as something to do, but I did end up liking Rosary. So, that’s where I ended up at after all.

Freshman year the only classes we were able to choose between were Spanish or French. I chose Spanish. Otherwise, I was put in English I, Religion I, and P.E./Health. Since we had taken Algebra I in eighth grade, another girl and I were put in Geometry and Biology with Sophomores. We also had a study hall called RGP (Research and Guidance Period) three days a week and music class two days a week.  Sophomore year I continued with Religion, English, and Spanish.  World Civilizations replaced P.E., music class was dropped, and I moved up to Algebra II and Chemistry. Because of my advancement in Math and Science, my RGP got really messed up. We spent three days a week in the vice-principal’s office and the other two in the library because no teacher wanted to spend an hour babysitting just two students.

Just before Junior year started I received a call at home from the vice-principal. First of all, I and a few other juniors had been approved for parking passes, but we had to park in these really crappy spots. Secondly, she was in the middle of coordinating all the student schedules and there were some issues with mine. Religion III was offered the same times as Pre-Calculus and college-credit Spanish. Mrs. Maze, the vice-principal, didn’t want me to miss either class and I couldn’t miss Religion, so she offered to do Pre-Calculus with me as an independent study in her office (she also taught the pre-cal. class)

So, I did that instead of RGP, and I loved it. Mrs. Maze would go over the concept, assign a handful of problems, tell me to check them myself in the teacher’s manual, and if I had leftover time I could work quietly on other things. It was almost like homeschooling. Because we had completed the science requirements, they didn’t know what to do with us so they stuck us advanced Juniors into Lifespan Psychology, a Senior elective. I also had English, Religion, AP U.S. History, college-credit Spanish, and Art as an elective.

Senior year the only required classes were English and Religion. As my electives I chose college credit Spanish IV and Typing/Keyboarding (on very antiquated equipment even then). It was very strongly suggested that I take an extra science, so I chose AP Biology. It was assumed that I would take Calculus, even though, I had no desire to go into a math-related field after high school. Technically, though, Holy Rosary didn’t offer AP Biology or Calculus, so first and second period of Senior year I commuted to our “brother” school DeSales High School for those classes. My last class of the day was RGP.

For the most part I had fairly good teachers. I think they were doing the best they could with what they had to work with. I was mostly in Honors classes, and most of the girls had some natural aptitude but very little desire to learn. I think the expectations were kept low as a result. I probably could have had a more rigorous academic education at Assumption or Butler, but I don’t know that I would have had a more personalized one elsewhere.

When I graduated high school, I had 14 college credits (8 Calculus and 6 Spanish). But I had barely passed Calculus with a C, so my college GPA was shot before I even officially started. I also had 3 hours for AP English that I didn’t really need because my college released me from English 100 based on my ACT score. I was Valedictorian of my class, but I don’t think I had much competition from my unmotivated classmates. I don’t think I was necessarily the smartest in my class, just the one who enjoyed learning the most. Like I’ve said, I am a nerd. And I doubt I would have been Valedictorian at another school.

What Holy Rosary lacked academically, though, it made up for in heart. In fact the theme one year was “The Little School with the Big Heart.”  And I’m thinking that at least two more posts are going to be necessary to explain what Holy Rosary meant to me.

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