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Mark C.

A Real Dress Code Story-Or How I Became A Potter

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I would not be a potter today without a stupid dress code in High School.This is a true story as best as I can tell it.

Let me tell you my story about unreasonable school bureaucracy and administration insanity.

 

Back when I was in High school I was a b+ student-not great not bad. Never had discipline issues.

My family where mostly teachers. My mother was a high school/collage teacher for over 30 years as well as a few years with the board of education.

I started to change with the times in 9th grade. That is started to grow my hair long (it was the 60’s) I told the track coach that I was done running circles and he was on his own after having 3 Cortright boys to coach and get his team records that I was done track. (My brother’s and myself all where track stars) over a 12 year period with my oldest brother going on to the Olympics.

In the summer of 9-th to 10th grade my mother suggested me not going to a regular high school as she saw trouble with the dress code? I did not get this point but found a school far away from so-Cal in the San Francisco area called Pacific High school. I went there for my 1st year of high school.This school became known from the dome books  written about its mass of domes built during my period there. It was a small private school and I learned about life in so many ways pubic schools could not teach. My fellow students (guys like pig pen from the Grateful dead) and I for example went on field trips to the Avalon ballroom to see Janis Joplin or the Jefferson Airplane.It was San Francisco in the heyday of change. I do not recall much book learning. I do recall much learning about life. Long story short met a girl lived in New Hampshire with her the last of that year and then flew out west to finish my high school and get out of the city (so-call).

By this time I had a pony tail and sideburns and the high school had a dress code with stated that THOU SHALL NOT HAVE SIDEBURNS BELOW the tip of ear. I think back on this and if I recall it was chiseled onto stone tablets in the principal’s office. Now I should add that my family was forward art thinkers and did not do well with rules that made no sense. Its in my DNA to question stupidity-always has been.

I seemed to be spending lots of time in the dean’s office in 11 grade talking about the length of sideburns and haircuts. Meanwhile I was a b+ student with zero discipline issues. This went on for almost the entire year. This guy was splitting hairs and disrupting my learning. To call him an idiot would be an insult to real idiots.

Again at this time my mother was putting in a two year stint on the board of Education (two years then back to doing real teaching with real students) She suggested I check out the continuation school which used the local JC business and technology and art school grounds in the am. I said I could not go as you have to be kicked out of all 5 high schools in our district to get in and I have never been kicked out of anything. She said she had some pull. I checked out the campus and enrolled the following week. They had a few potters’ wheels in the welding industrial arts building and that is how I got exposed to wheel throwing. I bought a wheel from Robert Brent himself as he was starting out. That was in 12th grade. I finished school early as I did reports and read books outside of school and was an A student in a class of 12 graduates who mostly had serious discipline issues.

I took a private class with another schoolmate from a local potter that year as well. I went on to take five years of art learning everything I could about ceramics while getting my art degree.I was lucky to learn from recent Alfred Grads who learned from the greats of our time and where busting to pass on that tourch of knowledge.

 

So spending time with an insane dean with insane rules is what changed my life into a full time potter years later.It not even a stretch as I would have never had that opportunity .

And to top off this tale they dropped the dress code two years later. Go figure they must have had a new hire at the top.A real thinker who cared about education.

I still would like to have a few moments alone with that dean just to set the record straight with a buzz cut.I'm sure he is now a retired prison guard.

This is my personal story and is in no way embellished .

Mark

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These rules really seemed important to school admins ... My brother spent many hours in detention for not cutting hair short enough, never mind sideburns! Of course they all sort of went blind to this grooming mistep during football season when they needed his skills as a tackle.

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Great story Mark!

 

Oh, if only I had a time machine. There are more than a few school administrators that I'd love to give a piece of my mind to! More than anything, I'd love to be able to go back to 16 year old me and give myself a few insights to on the subject of pompous persons in positions of power. Just to blow the minds of a few of said administrators! Mwwaahaahaaahaaa!!! ;)

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I don't know the rules in the States, so I can't participate in the discussion. But thank you Mark for a good story and insight!

 

Evelyne

I hope the rules are now a bit more enlightened- I think every school district has its own rules. Maybe every state as well.

As far as Federal rules I have no idea other than you have to pay taxes.

I do know in Canadian schools you must wear shoes from what TJR said.He may have been refering to snow shoes?

Mark

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Well, public schools don't have uniforms, but again here, it depends on the school division. Snow shoes are optional.

The rule that caused the most contention when I was in school was the one that stated boys couldn't wear hats indoors. Teenage boys of my age were surprisingly vain about hat head....

 

The shoe thing is more a health and safety legislation thing. If you don't wear proper protective gear around equipment and you get injured. you will likely be excluded from any worker's compensation claim for not taking due care. Also, your employer's WCB premiums go up and your boss is unlikely to be pleased with you for that.

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My 15 yo son had a full beard with side burns this past winter. His sister (twins) can't wear a tank top to school. Apparently bare shoulders leave young men unable to control themselves. Leggings (tinted panty hose) are acceptable. Go figure.

 

Love the story Mark. When I was in High School the students could only smoke in designated smoking areas. No matter what you were smoking.

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Great story, Mark.

In my high school, girls had to kneel on the floor to see if their hems touched the floor. Spent some time in the principal's office as well. Sylvester Stallone quit our HS and went to NY to start acting classes. He got an Honorary HS degree and The Italian Stallion robe was displayed among the HS trophies in the cases in the front entrance hall. 

I guess that says something about leaving the rules behind and making choice for your own future.

 

Marcia

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I don't know the rules in the States, so I can't participate in the discussion. But thank you Mark for a good story and insight!

 

Evelyne

I hope the rules are now a bit more enlightened- I think every school district has its own rules. Maybe every state as well.

As far as Federal rules I have no idea other than you have to pay taxes.

I do know in Canadian schools you must wear shoes from what TJR said.He may have been refering to snow shoes?

Mark

 

I gotta go to work so I can't really respond. We leave our snowshoes at the door so as not to track snow all over the place. In summer we don't wear them.

Tom.

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I went to high school in New York state and although I don't remember how they decided if a skirt was long enough, I do remember wearing trousers and boots on cold snowy days to walk to school, then taking them off because girls weren't allowed to wear trousers in school.

Can't say that directed me towards pottery though.

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 Mark.... wait.... you saw Janis Joplin?  :o   why skip over such an important life event so quickly? What a dream! Unfortunately being born in 79' I didn't have the chance to see any of the greats!

 

I remember when our high school had a "walk out" for the "co ed naked " t shirts and "johnsonville brats" ;) And a few of my guy friends dressed in drag to push the school dress code to the limit. (because it was not prohibited and they wanted to do everything they could get away with) 

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If I had been a little older I could have met Janis Joplin, this is before she was famous.  She sang in some local clubs around town, one of the boys I went to school with was a busboy.  He was always amazed that she could drink a bottle of whiskey and still perform.  Mark's buzz cut principal sounds exactly like mine except he was short and had  Napoleon syndrome.  I was sent home one day for wearing culottes, they came down to my knees just like the rest of our skirts.  The ceramics department was a whole different world, the teacher had longish hair played Beatle albums during class and smoked a pipe.  Who knows what was in that pipe, the ceramics area as separate from the rest of the school.  My teacher divorced his wife and married one of his students and this was a regular public high school in 1970.      Denice

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back in the 1954 freshman class at my school we wore the typical navy blue jumper over a long sleeved white blouse required for all female students.  guys wore sports coats and ties. and yes, shirts and shoes and all the rest.

 

we girls thought wearing knee socks in bright argyle colors was daring. chartreuse and black, pink and green, etc.   it lasted a week or so before a new rule prohibiting anything but navy or white socks came out.  sigh.....................................

 

(one of the guys wore the same tie with a jumping trout for the entire four years.)

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In fifth grade, I had a pair of little short boots, and they were silver...very cool. The next day in class, the teacher called me up to her desk, and looking at my feet said, "I'm glad to see you're wearing "normal" shoes today, I hope to never see those other ones again". 

 

I remember thinking..."What the heck what's on my feet, affect what I learn in my head?" Well, what I learned was, I was creative even then, and even though the outside will to stifle me was there, it couldn't stop me!

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At our group studio we decided to have "Casual Friday".  LOL how can you dress any more casually than at a pottery. rakuku

That is funny! That made me laugh!.

I taught in the toughest high school in Winnipeg for 12 years. We drcided to have "dress in black day." The irony was that all the students wore black all the time. Same deal.

T.

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