To Dream A Better School
May 22, 2015
Filed under The Susky Literary Magazine 2016
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To Dream a Better School
by John Whitesell
Being a privately owned but publicly accessible high school owned by a natural gas company, and across the street from a Renaissance Faire, Chivalry High School, in Ironstone, Pennsylvania, was a barely-typical high school with a lot of quirks, and when Derrick Miller returned for the 70th day of his 11th Grade year, his hopes were high. He was in Homeroom in room 256 again, but his old homeroom teacher, Mrs. Jackson, wasn’t there.
Mrs. Jackson was the type of teacher that belonged in a Military college but ended up in a high school: she was that type of bossy teacher who would assign a project to be done in class on Monday, have it due on Friday, and provide such stringent nitpicking and yelling at students over minor details that her students got approximately 25% less work done than the students of Coach Johnson, whose entire curriculum consisted of worksheets and who spent his time answering students’ questions. When Coach Johnson was asked to be the lifeguard at the school’s new swimming pool during Period 6 for a month, and Mrs. Jackson was asked to substitute for all of Mr. Johnson’s Period 6 classes for that month, all of Coach Johnson’s Period 6 students, save Derrick, dressed in attire normally seen in funerals. Seeing Mrs. Jackson’s obvious unpopularity, the school board promoted her to School Administration.
Mrs. Jackson’s replacement, and Derrick’s English teacher this year, was Mrs. Garrick. Mrs. Garrick was a young teacher, in her 20s, and was very pretty, but her fashion was that of the 15th Century. This being Chivalry High, which rather unsurprisingly had a Medieval Europe theme, such teacher quirks were not unusual.
First period for Derrick, 8 AM to 8:55 AM, was Algebra III. The teacher was a military veteran, as were all of the school’s math teachers. Blue and gold with hints of red- Chivalry High’s colors- were prevalent in every room and every corridor, save the restrooms. The Math work, however, was traditional black type on white paper, but what was shaded in blue, gold, and red.
Second period, 9 AM to 9:55 AM, was History class. Every History teacher in Chivalry High was also a Gym teacher. Coach Johnson was Derrick’s History teacher this year, teaching World History 500 BC-1500 AD. With most students, the coach had to remind them to read their textbooks, but with Derrick, the coach had to keep Derrick from reading the textbook and asking for more.
Third period, 10 AM to 10:55 AM, was when Derrick had his first Gym class. Mrs. Garrick’s husband, Mr. Garrick, was Derrick’s Gym teacher. In a similar way to his wife’s 15th Century fashion addiction, Mr. Garrick has been known to frequently show up wearing a full suit of armor, which, considering that not only are both Garrick teachers members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, but are also the heads of Chivalry High’s branch of the SCA, and that Chivalry high has enough leeway to have SCA-style mock battles as (one of the students’ favorite) gym activities, Mr. Garrick’s often appearances in a suit of armor were not entirely unjustified.
Fourth period, 11 AM to 11:55 AM, was lunch hour. The cafeteria at Chivalry High consisted of one area, where there was a line for a $3.00 all-you-can-eat buffet1, and another area, where there were 60 circular tables that seated 10 students each.
The main highlight of the day for Derrick was when a student publicly expressed despair about how difficult his classes were, another student suggested he take easier courses next year.
Fifth period, Noon to 12:55 PM, was English class for Derrick. As of this day, it was the 16th day in which Derrick’s English class had been reading The Silmarillion, which was required reading for 11th Graders in Chivalry High. The best parts were when Mrs. Garrick had the class perform a play version of the chapter they had read the previous day. Of the Medieval Europe theme prevalent throughout Chivalry High, Mrs. Garrick was the only teacher to take it further overboard than even the gym teachers.
Sixth period, 1 PM to 1:55 PM, was Derrick’s second Gym class. Unlike the first gym class, which was General Athletics, the second gym class was Aquatic Fitness. Mr. Garrick noted that although Derrick swam slower than the rest of the class, he was the only swimmer in the class able to swim the entirety of the pool’s 100-meter length underwater on a single breath.
Not even Mr. Garrick himself could hold his breath as long as Derrick could.
The seventh and last period of the day, from 2 PM to 2:55 PM, was Biology. Derrick’s class was dissecting rabbits that day, or, in some cases, field-dressing rabbits. The way the rabbits were prepared beforehand, they could be cooked and eaten with no ill effect.
Dismissal at Chivalry High lasted from 2:55 PM to 3:30 PM, with buses and parents picking up students. Many of both students and staff would also go over to the Renaissance Faire occasionally as well.
When Derrick got home, his mom was waiting. Her first response to seeing him was “How was school today?”
Derrick’s response was “Just another typical day at Chivalry High.”
1serving serving burgers, tater tots, corn dogs, sweet potato fries, and various assorted fruits and vegetables, as well as pizzas, mexican food, and assorted entrees, all of the above being 100% organic. Students in Chivalry High could easily boast of eating better than students at nearby schools.