Back to School: CCA's Favorite School Memories


1973, Kimberly's buss pass in Kailua, Hawaii

1973, Kimberly's buss pass in Kailua, Hawaii

What was your favorite school year and why? I moved around a great deal as the daughter of a naval officer so every school year was often in a different place. Despite going to 8 different schools from Kindergarten to High School, I managed to have a great time wherever I went.  It must be my gypsy spirit.  My favorite year was probably 1980-81 when my family moved to Sardinia and I went to boarding school on an airbase in Spain, near Madrid called Torrejon. I both lived with and went to school with kids whose parents were either diplomats, military, government contractors, academics, you name it.  We became so very close in a short period of time my senior year.   So many big decisions were upon us but we were a unique group of self-directed, fun-loving, curious kids. We had many adventures on the school grounds and in Madrid. Let's just say I was ordering Rioja in 4 star restaurants at 17 and also dancing the night away on weekends till dawn. 

 What is your most embarrassing moment from school (primary or high school)?  I think I blocked this out.  But if pressed, I would have to say when we arrived from Oahu to Our Lady of Victories Catholic School in Pascagoula, Mississippi, I had the island bleached asymmetric cut hair, tons of freckles and was tan and stood out awkwardly in my polyester uniform.  Most of the girls had neat pony tails or beautiful glossy straight hair that went well with the prim look. I looked like a wild child beachcomber who'd been dropped by helicopter into a proper setting.  

Who was your favorite teacher? This is a toss up. I have to say that Madame Cluny, my 9th grade French teacher, ignited a spark that changed my life. I had studied French for 2 years leading up to her class and from Day 1 she spoke maybe 50 words of English, the rest of the time, our entire class was in French. She shared so much about French culture with us, teaching us French Christmas carols, Jean de la Fontaine fables to memorize, classic recipes and best of all took us on a trip to Quebec. I was elected class Ambassador on that trip and I still have the Quebecois cookbook I received as a prize for that honor. Her zest, commitment and pure joie de vivre were absolutely contagious. My other favorite was my 10th grade Biology teacher, Mr. Ofisany. He started Day 1 of class with a baby boa constrictor wrapped around his bald head, saying " that I have your attention." He combined humor with education and made every class an adventure. To this day, I adore science as much as any subject. 

Who were you in school-Cheer leader? Captain of the Swim Team? Over achiever? Tennis team, Volleyball team, Student Council VP, Drama Society, National Honor Society, French Club, Senior Prom Princess, (we had two levels of royalty to keep the girls from cat fighting), yup I was busy. I'd say a hint of things to come.

My favorite quote about school was from Kurt Vonnegut who famously said ""True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country."  


Little Alex poses for her yearbook photo

Little Alex poses for her yearbook photo

What was your favorite school year and why? My sophomore year of high school. Finally no longer fresh meat, but still too young to lose too much sleep over the SATs, ACTs, AP exams or college applications. I remember 10th grade being all about discovering favorite subjects (history), thought-proviking book assignments (Heart of Darkness, Lord of the Flies, Jane Eyre), innocent first romances, and solidifying life-long friendships through sports & extra curricular activities. 

 What is your most embarrassing moment from school (primary or high school)? I was always kind of the runt of my grade, but I felt it the hardest after the summer between 6th and 7th grade, when all my childhood friends decided to conspire to grow up (literally and figuratively) and become mini-adults without me. I was on vacation in Southern California and Mexico and didn't get the memo. I came back with full on blonde dreadlocks from Baja, giddy with childish, unselfconscious pride in the novelty that was my hair, expecting to proudly step off the bus on the first day of school to enthusiastic "oohs and ahhs" over my new coif. Instead, I stepped off the bus to find everyone 3-4 inches taller, 3-4 emotional years older and 3-4 times more likely to be (very self-consciously) unimpressed with anything that stood out from the norm (including my groovy new look). I went home that day and tearfully removed the pariah 'do only to learn that one's hair doesn't recover easily from weeks 'under braid.'  The icing on the cake was that subsequent first month of middle school I spent battling fluff-ball chia-pet hair (including yearbook picture day). Oh the agony. 

Who was your favorite teacher?  Mrs. Frank, my wonderfully odd-ball sophomore year English teacher. 

Who were you in school-Cheer leader? Captain of the Swim Team? Over achiever? Cheerleader (guilty), Track Team/Pole-Vaulter, ASB Publicity Coordinator, and Peer Counsellor. 


A pigtailed Ana on her way to the "Festa Junina", a Brazilian folk celebration.

A pigtailed Ana on her way to the "Festa Junina", a Brazilian folk celebration.

What was your favorite school year and why?
This is a really hard question to answer because I loved school. But I guess I could say that the best year was the second year of high school since it was right before the high stress of the Brazilian and German "SATs" and my cohort was particularly united then. I remember having great teachers, awesome friends and a boyfriend (which is huge in high school! hahaha). In Brazil schools are not split like in the US, where you have different sites for primary school, middle school, etc. Therefore, I actually studied at the same place for 14 and a half years. It was a bilingual school in Rio de Janeiro: the Corcovado German School.

What is your most embarrassing moment from school (primary or high school)? 
I think my most embarrassing moment was in middle school. For some unexplainable reason I ended up joining the school's theater group and I don't understand until now how come I was accepted in there. I had zero talent for it and it ultimately culminated on a school play called "Clowns". OMG. The video of the play is unfortunately saving that moment for history, thankfully (for me) in a VHS format, something next generations will never understand. 

Who was your favorite teacher? 
I had several teachers that marked my almost 15 years trajectory but Frau (Mrs.) Burkhardt was my cohort's mom. She was our German teacher and she introduced all of us to the wonders of Philosophy with classics like "Sophie's World", "Faust" and "The Metamorphosis". When I first met her as a teacher I must admit I was really afraid of her. She would come into class and ask us about the daily reading: "How did you read it?". I was terrified to be chosen to answer each morning because let's be honest here, what kind of a question is that? I would always wonder what she meant! Sitting? Lying down in my bed? After lunch? Only later I found out that she wanted to know with what mindset, ideas, pre-concepts we understood what we read. How did we approach the reading or how was our opinion building process. She was fantastic and what I learned with her I will carry for life. We should always have an opinion (that can change) about things. We must be able to say what we think.

Who were you in school-Cheer leader? Captain of the Swim Team? Over achiever? 
First of all, there are no cheer leaders in Brazil and sports are not as valued as in the US. Having cleared that out, I guess you might have figured out what I was in school after all of the above answers, right? I loved school, I loved my teachers, and the favorite one was teaching Philosophy in German. Yes I was the over achiever, a.k.a. Nerd. lol I cannot run away from my past. You would always find me around books, stressing out about homework and exams, and setting too high standards to myself.


Jamie rocks overalls with her embarrassed big sister, Jessica, on the first day of 1st grade.

Jamie rocks overalls with her embarrassed big sister, Jessica, on the first day of 1st grade.

What was your favorite school year and why? I am one of the few individuals who thrived in middle school. My awkward stage was elementary school so by the time I got to middle school I was in my “prime” as I like to call it. 8th grade in particular was my favorite though. All of my friends were on the same sports teams for each season so everyday was a marathon of fun. In the fall, we played volleyball, in the winter we were on the swim team, and in the springtime, we would be in shape for water polo season. I was the captain of our water polo team which I know realize was a really special opportunity- and we were good! I went to a very small private French school, 40 students per grade, called Le Jardin Academy. We had little experience and a very un-intimidating demeanor, but we had a strong team dynamic and even made it to the semi finals one year. 

 What is your most embarrassing moment from school (primary or high school)? I have always been a clumsy person so “most” embarrassing moments do not exist- it is more of a saga (see photo above). A highlight though, would have to be walking into the first day of 6th grade with toilet paper dragging from my shoe, sketchers I might add- that moment will never be forgotten! 

Who was your favorite teacher? I was blessed with a number of amazing teachers throughout the years but I would like to pay a tribute to our Athletics Director and family friend, Mr. Olaso. He started at Le Jardin Academy as the early morning caregiver.  Both of my parents worked, so my older sister and I would arrive at school an hour and a half early and would play fun games with Mr. Olaso until it was time to go to our classroom. In elementary school, he was also our PE Teacher and basketball coach. He was promoted to the Athletics Director and lead the school to the founding of its entire athletics program as well as many state championships and wins. He passed away in the spring of 2014. Mr. Olaso coined the phrase that will forever live and thrive in the hearts of those who worked with him and who were taught my him. The LJA motto, “One Mind, One Heart, One Soul: One Team” was also established by Mr. Olaso, which will forever resonate with me. 

Who were you in school-Cheer leader? Captain of the Swim Team? Over achiever? I was captain of the water polo and in the choir-it was a small school so we had the opportunity to try new things. I was also the goofy, quirky one. I didn't care what others thought and was always getting sent outside for giggling while the teacher was talking. That part of me will always remain the same, I have just learned how to harness my inner goof ball and keep my mouth shut.

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