Thursday, March 20, 2008

Life at Stuyvesant HS

I had the good fortune to attend a high powered High School, where the majority of the student body took classes like Latin and everyone went to college. But after reading A Class Apart, Alec Klein's look at a year inside New York's Styvesant High School I found myself wishing that I could re-enter the world of SATs, early morning classes and school plays.

Stuyvesant HS is not your normal school. It is a public school with an entrance exam. It is more interested in getting its students into Ivy League colleges than into Big 10 Football programs. It has a place for 10 year old math students and drama competitions.

Klein entered the student body for a year and follows several students from the beginning of the year. You get to see the students and the teachers deal with triumph and tragedy. I found the book a page turner and an interesting look into a life (High School) that is often idolized but here is shown in a gritty glory.

One of the most interesting sections deals with the Stuyvesant School play, an annual competition between the Senior, Junior and Freshman/Sophomore classes to put on the best musical. You get to see the anxiety of the Senior class, who are expected to win but who have an ill lead singer. You get to see the preperation of the Juniors, who know that it is their hear to pull of the upset and rule the school. And the way that the teachers deal with expectations and reality.

I liked the book, but not enough to really want to be a teen again. It is nice, however, to visit.



At March 22, 2008 at 4:22 PM , Blogger Kathleen said...

Our son, Christopher, graduated with the '07 Stuyvesant class which was highlighted in "Life at.." It's a truly fabulous school with really wonderful, talented, hard-working kids and mostly wonderful teachers. Chris is now a very happy freshman at Dartmouth. Unhappily Danny Jaye (head of the Math. Dept.) is no longer at Stuy., but his new school in NJ, where he is the principal, is more than lucky to have him. A truly tremendous human being.
Stuy is a fabulous school in Battery Park City (in Manhattan). Just what NYC and everyplace else needs!

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