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Dave Sekol - United States Navy

Years later, despite my protestations, my parents demanded I also attend the local Catholic high school.  Sister Marys are few and far between in the world of nuns, and I dreaded four more years of a system that rewarded conformity and stifled creativity.

Not that I was so creative.  Even the Catholics can’t be blamed for inhibiting in a boy something that never existed.  If I described my teenage self, considering all aspects of life at a parochial school in a small, midwestern town, the term that would come up more than any other would be “average.”  Hey, considering all aspects, that’s not bad.  For years, my father hammered into my head my mediocrity and utter lack of promise.  Less direct than he but no less judgmental, the Catholics relied on the church’s concepts universally applicable to all young boys such as insignificant, unworthy and undeserving.  Given that, you can see I had a big hill to climb just to get to “average.” 

Looking back, I suppose my Catholic high school was not so different from Champion’s public school.  We had a group that typically got good grades, participated in student government and were seen at all school functions.  The jocks were right under them on the social ladder, and sometimes, there was leakage between the two groups.  Occasionally, a jock was pretty enough to pass as intelligent and get bumped up a rung, and now and then, a student government geek made the swim or track team. 

My group hung out in the parking lot, smoked cigarettes, shot the shit and fooled around.  Not too different from elementary, for me, high school went along day-to-day, while I walked the razor’s edge between war and peace at home.  Around school, my homeroom class was like the animal house.  Irreverent and intolerant, my buddies and I were scornful of authority, and nobody on the faculty wanted to deal with us.  When we were spoken of, it was in conjunction with deep sighs and resignation to the unpleasant reality that every school had “that element.” 

All that was a long time ago.  Another time and another place.  Now and then, I receive invitations to attend high school reunions in Champion, Ohio, and though I frequently long for that simpler time, I never reply.


1. The Vernon County
2. "Fine, I’ll join the army."
3. Rewarding conformity
4. The LST
5. Freedom tax
6. Interrogating VC
7. Zombie-like
8. Yolanda
9. Dog therapy
10. Anger rush
11. EDMR therapy