1928 - Alderson High School - 1968

 


Educate: To develop or train the mind, capabilities,
 or character of by instructions or study; teach.
 

My classmates of 1958 will be meeting in my hometown of Alderson, West Virginia for our 50th year high school class reunion over the July 4th week. I have come to realize that the 58ers and education have come so far and yet not far at all in these past 50 years. We of course have learned new sciences and computers and knowledge has run rampant. We have ventured to the moon and are now digging into the crust of Mars. We have space modules visiting the outer planets that orbit our Sun. What else will we accomplish. Where else will we go. We have learned and become learned beyond the wildest dreams of man We have traveled so far and have learned so little. In the giant scheme of the universe we have but scratched the surface of space travel and space knowledge. We have ventured only far enough out of our safety zone of the earthís atmosphere as to call it dangerous. We have libraries full of books that sit with dust on them. Our language has become computer bites with letters and numbers to make up our words.

You would think in those 50 years we who keep our feet planted on the surface of the earth would have learned how to live in peace, but it is just the opposite. We are killing each other at an alarming rate and for the same reasons people were killing each other 50 years ago, a hundred years ago, yea a thousand years ago.

You would think with all the technology and the knowledge we have obtained with agriculture that there would not be one hungry human on the face of the planet, yet we see people from a hundred agencies on television everyday showing children the world over starving and begging for food to feed them. We see that same food meant for the hungry going to feed the troops of some power hungry third world idiot who is killing people at an alarming rate to seize power of a country that cannot feed itself, cannot produce anything and the entire bankroll of the country would not keep Donald Trump in business for one day.

You would think the society in our country would be the mirror image of Emily Post. After all, her methods of how a young lady should dress, act and behave were taught 50 years ago. Every young lady was taught home economics. Everything from cooking to household budgeting. How to dress for work, for play and for tea. Gentlemen were gentlemen because society and the ladies demanded it. If you were a cad you were shunned and not invited to social functions. Todayís women have much tougher choices to make, "do I stop at McDonalds or Captain Dís on the way home from work". Todayís children are almost all "latch key children" who fend for themselves until the parents come home from work. What education they get is from the TV or the Internet. I seriously doubt if Emily Post would have anything to do with either one except for catching up on current affairs. That term to mean catching up on world news and events, not the latest Hollywood gossip.

We have learned to be better policemen and firemen. Less crime is gotten away with because of the vast amount of knowledge about criminals and their behavior. I guess that is why we must build more jails each year. The criminals are still just as dumb and stupid as ever and are getting caught at an alarming rate. It used to be the firemen that had the biggest rate of job related deaths, but that has turned around now and it is the policemen who now face the most perils of the job. There was a time when policemen had a great deal of respect, even from the criminal element, but now we find that the bad guys have no fear of the policemen or his position in society.

We have dumbed down our politics, we have dumbed down our legal system and we have most dreadfully dumbed down our education system to the point that a person graduating from college now has less knowledge than an eight grader did 50 years ago. Our science and mathematics have lapsed below a lot of third world countries. Most high tech employers are going to the east and far east to find their brain power these days.

Oh, before I forget we have advanced in one area of academics. We are turning out athletes now that would have marveled those playing 50 years ago. Then we had a saying " he can do any thing with a ball except autograph it", now we say, "donít worry about him being able to sign it, his attorney will do that for him".

Today education is just a job and little is expected from the teachers and even less is expected from the students. Lucky for most of the teachers they have the union to help them keep the job and playboy magazine if they are not able to keep it.

It was so nice living and going to school 50 years ago. The teachers who taught in school also taught in Sunday school. They had high morals and high standards which they demanded of themselves and their students.

How far have we advanced in our education system? We have digressed about two hundred years. The school system as run by the state has become little more than a tax payer based day care system.

Our class motto 50 years ago was, "today we anchor, tomorrow we sail". After sailing for 50 years I have never come across better schools, teachers or town than the one I left 50 years ago. Sail on 58ers, sail on.