The “secret room” story was picked up today by Paul Harvey. He read an edited version of the story – picking out “narrow catwalk” and “cavelike room”, while adding something about being in secret use by a select few – “the sons and daughters of the sons and daughters” – as if it were a family secret, rather than simply a legacy handed from one class to another.
What Mr Harvey didn’t say – and what the story picked up by the Rocky Mountain News from the Smoky Hill High School Express failed to make clear – is that those “narrow catwalks” were specifically designed for safe use by students hanging lights for theater productions in the school. The “cavelike room” – far from being an al qaeda hideout – was … well, okay that part is pretty cool – but hardly more insidious. than any other hidden corner that students find to nap or make out or simply escape the increasingly opressive hand of school administration.
I admit, I get a charge out of learning that one of
the secrets we kept back in my high school days has remained secret this long, and I am suprisingly sad to hear that it has been shut down. If I were still a Smoky Hill Theatre student, I know where I’d be hiding out to mourn its loss.
And THAT… is the rest of the story.
Student hideaway: The 31-year jig is up
Aurora – For 31 years, a hideaway in the rafters of Smoky Hill High School has served as a refuge for select drama students – a secret getaway whose whereabouts were passed down every year from class to class.
Unbeknownst to teachers and administrators, students had hauled up chairs, a radio and candles to furnish the lair above the lights. The room was actually a space created by the vents and walls of the ventilation system, accessible only by perilous traverses across catwalks.
Knowledge about the room had become a sacred Smoky Hill rite until the school newspaper last month revealed the secret. The April 14 article in the Smoky Hill Express prompted administrators to shut down access.
In its wake, newspaper students learned the power of the printed word. Drama students learned that their unsupervised exploits above the rafters could have been deadly.
“It’s probably a pretty good idea to keep the kids safe,” said Brian Pelepchan, 45, one of two teens who created the room during the school’s first year in 1975.
Pelepchan and his best friend, Gary Walker, were sophomores, avid rock climbers and drama- department “techies” who were allowed on the catwalks above the stage.
“We went up into the catwalks and saw this little opening, climbed up the structure and, lo and behold, we found this little cavelike place that we could hang out in,” said Pelepchan, now an engineer with three children who attend Smoky Hill.
On the one hand, I am suprised it stayed secret this long. On the other hand, ‘boo’ for uncovering “things students do that they shouldn’t” in the name of high school investigative journalism. “Things students do that they shouldn’t” is part of an overall system of inherent subversiveness that is necessary for healthy adolescent development. I’d hate to be the kid who said “are you looking for the secret room” to the reporter. He’s officially a pariah.
BARNSDALL ART CENTER calls itself “The Best Kept Secret in LA!” – which is pretty accurate, considering they are having a fundraising sale on Saturday, April 29, and it isn’t mentioned anywhere on their site (or anywhere else on the internet that I didn’t personally put it). That is NO reason not to go! This is a great art center, and there is going to be some really good stuff for sale (probably cheap!), too. I’ll be there, manning Stacey’s watercolor table, and trying to flog a few of my photographs. If you are in the Greater LA Area, come by and say hello!
Barnsdall Art Center Art Show and Sale
Saturday, April 29, 2006
2pm – 5pm
Barnsdall Art Park
4800 Hollywood Blvd
I’m not sure how I missed the publication of Diaper count, crayon skills, photos fill baby’s first blog back in November – it’s amazing what a little ego surfing will turn up… It’s just a little “baby blog” fluff piece where someone wrote about me writing about our little peanut, but in the spirit of self referential meta-tastic goodness, I’m writing about it here. That way, when Zoë is reading all of the embarrasing stories I wrote about her, she can find the news services article where I shared those embarrasing stories with the world… or at least parts of Delaware…
There are a lot of grey areas when it comes to parenting. Places where, even though I make one choice and you make another, neither of us is necessarily wrong. I would be very slow to say “you are a bad parent” to anyone. This week, however, has been full of discussions about books that I would certainly qualify as Bad Parenting™ — Lisa Whelchel’s Creative Correction for example, or Gary Ezzo’s BabyWise series. Today’s entry is actually an article, illustrating the point that “Sharing a crack pipe with your 5-year-old is no way to bond.”
I have two observations:
1) WTF is wrong with people?
2) We may not be perfect parents, but we could be much, much worse.
Also, WTF is WRONG with people???
The Crack link is via Waxy and Daddy Types, the Lisa Whelchel link is via multiple sources, including 100 wild-eyed unfair and unbalanced monkeys typing.