Monday, October 7, 2013 —
Two topics of discussion this week transported me back to high school.
Both items are connected in one way, but so far apart in others.
Proclaiming your affiliation to West Stanly in Bulldog Country is about as bad as wearing a Cameron Crazies T-shirt inside the Dean Dome. But if you’re a true fan, you show your school spirit no matter what.
Thank goodness the level of hatred toward the other team has not reached the level of that of the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers, where one fan was brutally beaten after he and other fans exchanged words about their teams.
I have felt a certain level of that from Carolina fans before, but Blue Devils have thick skin, and we can take it.
This week, when I saw the video West Stanly students and staff created, I was even more proud to say I was a Colt. They found a way to include almost every aspect of school life into one two-minute video.
Staff members say that school spirit has increased. I have also heard from other schools that the spirit shown at games is up, even having a “student section” where students dress up in school colors, body paint and outrageous outfits to show school pride.
I do remember having Spirit Week, with a different themed outfit each day, but I do not recall us going as far as having anything like a video. (But who needed a video when you had the best newspaper staff in The Sage? I guess I’m being a little biased.) We did compile a video yearbook one year at Stanfield. It is a way of building school spirit and chronicling history at the same time.
Ah, yes, history.
That’s the other subject.
You know I like to discuss history, promote preservation of historic items and, let’s face it, I like to collect old jun ... antiques.
The topic of the citizenship test came up in our newsroom. I was asked if I could name the first six presidents. I rattled off the first three with no problem. The next two I always get mismatched, but this time I spoke correctly. The sixth one is obviously John Quincy Adams, and I had a little clue from our Tennessean on the seventh. The eighth one comes naturally as Martin Van Buren, thanks to a clever mention in an episode of “Seinfeld” about the Van Buren Boys, a gang that flashes eight fingers in honor of the eighth president.
Presidents are my favorite topic of history. Some people like to talk war or great literature. I like presidents. Like each of our 50 states, each president is unique.
But my aptitude for presidential trivia was not up for debate. The debate was about the citizenship test and whether it is relevant to everyday life.
Is someone really going to quiz you on the presidents, the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence?
Sure. “Jeopardy” contestants and politicians find these facts very handy. (Steering back to high school for a second, one of my most memorable classes was U.S. History with Jim Kennedy, who brought his dramatic flair to class. It was a good thing it was a election year as well.)
I think we all should know about our country. We have people dying to get here each day. If we make them learn our culture and expect them to learn our language, shouldn’t we at least be minimal experts on the subjects?
At least when the aliens come and say “Take me to your leader … the 27th one,” I know to take them to the gravesite of … of …
Oh, I guess I need to go freshen up on that one.
At least I know one of my favorite money men, Benjamin Franklin, was not a president.
Even though he does have a nice first name.
B. J. Drye is editor of The Stanly News & Press. Write him at PO Box 488, Albemarle, NC 28002 or bj@stanly newspress.com.