Thursday, June 12, 2008
Dear Old School Days
For some reason, I decided to visit the site of my old high school, Eastern Tech.
My high school was a magnet school. Students had to apply for admission, and were expected to abide by a dress code and fairly strict behavior and performance standards. The school was full of kids like me, white, lower-middle class, from blue-collar families. Very few of our parents had gone to college. But we knew the world was changing, and we couldn't expect to work in the mills like our dads. While most of us weren't about to set the world on fire, we were serious about our future, and interested in the world around us.
We each declared "primes," a major area of study. Some were technical, others were blue-collar. My prime was computer programming. I figured everyone was going to be using computers in the future. We learned COBOL, Fortran, RPG. I taught myself to program in BASIC. We learned to use punched data cards on ancient mainframes donated by the Social Security Administration. I loved it, but I hated it. It was too dry, to technical for me. I had to study accounting and calculus.
Eventually, I decided to pursue art and design. I thought I'd cut and paste and draw and glue things with my hands. For a short time, I did, but those days are over. Professional graphic design is unthinkable without computers. And I understand them quite well. Thanks, Eastern Tech.
I found an interesting tidbit on their site, indicative of the spirit of Eastern Tech, and good for all Americans to consider:
THE WHOLE WORLD AS 100 PEOPLE
If we could shrink the earth’s population to a village with precisely 100 people, with all the existing human nations remaining the same, it would look like this:
14 from the Western Hemisphere (north and south)
70 would be non-white
70 would be non-Christian
30 would be Christian
59% of the world’s wealth would be in the hands of only 6 people and all 6 would be citizens of the US
80 would live in substandard housing
70 would be unable to read
50 would suffer from malnutrition
1 would be near death
1 would be near birth
Only 1 would have a college education and only 1 would have a computer. When one considers our world from such a compressed perspective, the need for both acceptance and understanding becomes glaringly apparent.