“They put me in private school, which was a bit of a culture shock.”
Editing by David M. Sula of Adelmar Entertainment.
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Transcript for This Kid Could Go Either Way
I grew up in Chicago, Illinois. I attended a small high school called Morgan Park Academy on the southside of Chicago. I actually started going to Morgan Park Academy in the seventh grade. The reason I started going there is my father went to the public school that I was attending for Dearborn. When he got there, he talked with the teacher, and the teacher noted some problems that I was having, you know, hanging with the wrong crowd. Then the teacher asked my father if I was interested in having him go to another school. My parents knew of Morgan Park Academy through my mom’s work, she had a mutual friend that had a son going there, so they ended up putting me in private school and taking me out of public school in the seventh grade.
I was what you call a latch key kid. Meaning you stayed home until the parents came home two or three in the afternoon, and then you could go out but until then, you stay in the house, you don’t let anyone in the house. I was always told to work on homework after school. So for two hours after school I would have to sit and make sure I worked on homework. But I was rather lazy and mischievous in the classroom. Just getting into a lot of trouble, a lot of referrals to the principal’s office, not paying attention in class, just not really being focused on what I needed to academically. Then I guess he saw something that said, Hey, you know, this kid could go either way unless his parents step kind of in and do something different with him.
My family wasn’t an affluent family; both my parents were postal workers, so they worked at postal shift, night or day, rain sun or shine, or rain sleet or snow. And they put me in private school which was a bit of culture shock for me, because I was then in a school with kids that had more affluent families, meaning they were doctors, lawyers, politicians, things of that nature. So it was a bit of a culture shock for me in the beginning because I would have to travel about an hour to get to the school, so taking the bus one way while my other friends and people that I knew and grew up with in the neighborhood were going another way, was a bit of a transition.
I remember my uncle used to take me to school in the seventh grade, and my uncle drove a cab. So my uncle would drop me off right in front of the school in this big old, beetle, Volkswagen-looking taxi cab. And the kids would ask me, “Why do you drive a cab to school?” And I remember very vividly telling them my parents are so rich that they had to hire a cab for me because I was embarrassed about, you know, coming to school in a cab when other kids were getting there in BMWs and Audis, and you know, other, you know, bigger cars. And I remember an embarrassing moment, and I think my uncle caught on, I never asked him if he did, but in the seventh grade I acted like I had a basketball injury and I was limping because I was getting teased so much about coming to school in this cab. I had him stop a little further back and told him you know, I wanted to walk this injury off.
The biggest transition I had to make was in the academics, ah, competition. You know, academic competition. That was the real first exposure I had to what you would call honors classes. And then just the reading levels that those kids, you know, those kids were reading novels in the seventh grade, and I don’t think I would have read a novel until I reached high school, if I had stayed in public school.
I also remember very vividly attending that school, it being more of a diverse culture. It was the first time that I really experienced going to school with white kids, kids of international nature, whether it be Indian, Korean, Chinese, so I think in a lot of ways it prepared me for coming to Valparaiso University. But my experience in high school was quite different because I would still go home and it would still be my neighborhood and I could still fit in. My friends helped me stay grounded.