Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Testing for old bitterness

I looked up my old high school on Wikipedia today. Just for fun. It had the usual drivel about mission statements and mottos, which was probably cut and pasted directly from the school website.

It also had a list of Notable Students. The list reveals a lot about what the school values, and why many of us could not take it seriously or had our egos crushed as we grew up within its confines.

The list includes a car salesman, a lawyer and a couple of mid-level athletes. It also includes a journalist who recently wrote some home truths about school life in the public sphere, and has been removed from the official school website listed as a source for Wikipedia. He has been blacklisted, I guess, for not representing the school's ideals.

Who else doesn't represent the school's ideals? The medical specialists who have graduated and now work within the hospital system, along with all of the other health professionals who are prominent in their fields. None of us count.

The university professors don't count, either.

Neither do the artistic, the service men or women, or the internationally successful musicians. There are some astoundingly successful people who have graduated from my school, but you wouldn't know it. I guess they just don't fit the mould.

When I read the people they have listed on their site, it seems completely incongruent that they have lauded their chosen few while ignoring the rest. What sets these people above the others? From what I can tell, it is three things:
  1. They stayed in the small town after school;
  2. They have donated money and/or awards and been present at awards nights; and
  3. They have personal family connections within the school community.
It all makes me very glad that I left high school behind a long time ago. Thank God I now live in the wider world. It is liberating.

Just for fun, you too can look up your old school on Wikipedia just to see if the rejection you felt in high school has lost its sting. It is a handy litmus test to tell just how much bitterness is left.


Sharp Incisions said...

Isn't it more likely that the Wikipedia entry was written by these 'notable students'? Can't you edit it, and add in those you think are worthy?

(For what it's worth, I checked my old high school. We have an actress, two sporting personalities and a former prime minister. This school graduates over a hundred students per year, and opened in the 1920s, so I'd wager we have a few more notable alumni than that!)

The Girl said...

Nah, I think the point was that people move on and are thoroughly over high school. If the people on the list want to make themselves feel more important through self-validation on Wiki, that is their choice. The rest of us probably feel that it is a place that we survived and escaped.

It is just ironic that the list looks quite pathetic compared to how impressive it could be, if the school itself were more open to acknowledging their past students.

Milk and Two Sugars said...

My high school only cares about two kinds of achievements: marriages (and, by extension, babies) and sporting personalities. There is not a single lauded doctor, dentist, engineer, etc on the list - and given that the school has only produced a handful of professionals, you'd really think they'd want to promote them. Problem is, most of us aren't Christians.

Like you, I still resent my high schooling. But much less-so than I once did. Perhaps by the 10 year reunion mark I'll be over it completely :)