Sunday, January 31, 2010

The 'Class With Class'

I have another reunion coming up the weekend of October 8-10 with the fellow members of my Jesse H. Jones High School Class of 1980, AKA 'The Class With Class'. We received that nickname from Annie Booker, one of our counselors, and it has stuck with us throughout the years and the turn of the century as well.

We were the kids that entered kindergarten in 1967 as the pace of integration of HISD schools was taken out of the 'with all deliberate speed' setting.

We muddled through pairing plans, busing, and the adoption and formation of magnet schools by HISD as we grew up during the 70's. At the same time Houston was annexing territory, well on its way to becoming the fourth largest city in the United States and was in the news on a regular basis thanks to NASA and the space program. Houston's Black community was continuing to make progress economically, politically and socially as the city also became a magnet for people from various nations and ethnic groups as well.

By the time we members of the Jones Falcon Class of 1980 began arriving on campus from our various junior high schools we were this interesting multicultural blend of kids who not only were sophisticated beyond their years, we carried ourselves from the first day on campus as if we owned the school. Whether it was in sports, academics, student government or other extracurricular activities we quickly established ourselves as leaders despite the short time we'd been walking JJ's halls.

Some of my classmates were already driving cars and were fashion plates wearing skirted suits and three piece suits to class. But we also combined that sense of sophistication and single minded purpose with a cocky, fun loving attitude and wicked sense of humor.

During the three years we were there (HISD was on a 6-3-3 system at the time) we'd build on that reputation. The 'Class with Class' would cheer our school's victories, mourn our losses, watch romances blossom and break up and form lasting friendships in the process. I was in the Vanguard gifted and talented magnet program housed on the campus at the time, but as far as I was concerned I was a Falcon and member of the Jones Family first, and King Arthur (our nickname for Mr. Arthur Pace, our principal at the time) was the head of it.

Through all the wild and crazy stuff we did with a late 70's music soundtrack blaring in the background as we matriculated through our high school years, the thing we were most proud of was not only that nickname that had been bestowed upon us that we wore with pride, it was our teachers constantly telling us that we were a special class.

But all good things unfortunately must come to an end. We entered the decade of the 80's for the last five months of our high school days with the dizzying backdrop of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Lake Placid Olympic 'Miracle on Ice', the upcoming Carter-Reagan presidential election and the Iran hostage crisis in the background as we excitedly exchanged senior cards, signed memory books, attended the Astroworld All Night Senior Party, and counted down the days to Senior Week, our graduation and our prom.

On that May 20 night in the Astroarena we noted our diploma covers had 'The Class With Class' printed on them, tossed our caps in the air, took endless pictures and waved goodbye to each other as we counted down to the last day of the school year and prepared to begin the next chapter in our lives.

As we 'Accepted the Challenge of the 80's' (our class motto) we've taken time out of our lives to get together for our 1985, 1990 and 2000 reunions and relive that almost magical time.

With the 2010 reunion rapidly approaching, our teachers and counselors were right about us. We have turned out to be a special class. One of my classmates sits on the Texas State Board of Education and ran for city council. Our class president also ran for city council in the mid 80's. Another classmate was VP of the Houston Urban League and had a radio talk show on Majic 102. One was a Harris County DA while others are excelling in various fields.

As for me? I'm just some award winning activist, Kentucky Colonel and trans blogger.

But I am looking forward to once again seeing my classmates later this year.

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