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billybud
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Catholic Schools

Postby billybud » Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:03 am

Since it came up in another thread...I thought I might relate my thoughts about the parochial school education that I was provided.

Background:
...I and my family were not catholic. My parents were very progressive for their times and wanted me to have a classic college prep education. They felt that the public school systems in the south were moving in the wrong direction and could not provide that.
...Dad was a Wisconsin boy educated at U of Michigan in Engineering. He was very bright and adept at higher math.
...Mom was a southern girl whose grandfather came off of the farm to study law. Her family had become a genteel, well to do family of lawyers and business people who were still hunters, card players, and southern raconteurs. They valued highly the spoken and written word.

The Education...

I never attended public schools and the education that I received in my twelve years of catholic schooling was excellent. The classic college prep curriculum. I had latin for four years with the classics of Caesar and Ovid read in Latin, an emphasis on classic literature, english, sentence structure, expository writing and public speaking. The standards in math..algebra, geometry, trig. Logic, philosophy, and critical thought were emphasized.

Rather than the Dick and Jane type books, by the third grade we were reading Roy Chapman Andrews and studying archeology and exploration. I scored in the 1500's on my SAT (a very high score in the day) and had scholarship offers from a handful of schools including Florida State. Stupidly, I insisted, with the wisdom of an 18 year old, on joining the Corps to "become a man" and continuing my education later.

I was taught by Dominicans, Jesuits, and some Franciscans.

I found, once I got to college, that I was more than competitive with my classmates. I was very well prepared for an extended academic sojourn.

The Religion...

It may surprise some, but religion was a very, very minor part of that education. It consisted mainly with starting the day with a prayer. Catholicism, as such, was not taught except in a course, if you chose to take it. I did see some religious overtones while in the study of classic philosophy when discussing Aristotle's concept of a "prime mover".

More...next post
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Re: Catholic Schools

Postby billybud » Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:21 am

Discipline...

We all wore uniforms and proper discipline was enforced. Very British. You all have heard horror stories about discipline in Catholic schools. I assure you that where there is smoke there is fire and I got singed. But we learned and we learned discipline. And, when I got to Parris Island, I could look the Drill Instructor in the eye with a faint smile. After Sister Charles Bronson, he wasn't anything to be scared of.

To a third grader, the Dominican nuns in their white habits with black veils all looked like six foot tall storm troopers from Revenge of the Jedi. They were surely alien for we knew they weren't men, yet they sure weren't women.

Culture...

Watching Harry Potter always puts me in mind of my parochial education. The uniforms, the slightly sinister yet wacky teaching staff wearing dark robes, the cathedral like dining hall, and even the hocus pocus. But when you cut through it all, the emphasis in Potter, and in my education, was growing young people to become effective adults.

Wearing uniforms meant that there was much less of a caste system in high school. The rich and the poorer all looked exactly alike. Without outward markers, there seemed to be less of a need to dress a certain way to belong to a group.

Efficiency

Education today is a "system". Huge overheads in district staff (curriculum coordinators, and a gazillion other support specialists), There is a huge state bureaucracy of education that sucks up tax dollars. The catholic schools were simple. No bureaucracy, no big overhead, no state structure. Education as it once was in the public schools.
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Re: Catholic Schools

Postby donovan » Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:54 pm

This is very good and interesting to read. Your last line, Education as it once was... really is the summation of so many topics we discuss. Waiting for the next installment.
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Re: Catholic Schools

Postby Eric » Wed Apr 21, 2010 2:38 pm

We get installments? :lol:

Count me in! Yeah, they had a reputation for being strict. You always have to walk a fine line between discipline and abuse though. I admit that when I was in middle school (and a little more mature than many of my counterparts :roll: ) I wouldn't mind an installment of the old-school Catholic disciplinary system :lol:
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Re: Catholic Schools

Postby billybud » Wed Apr 21, 2010 5:46 pm

Parris Island's normal behaviour towards "boots" in 1964 and 1965 would be considered abuse today. It is a moving target.

Yes, there was discipline...some of which could be corporal. I had to stand on tip toes, keeping my nose in a drawn circle on a blackboard. The calves start burning, shaking, cramping. We also had to stand with a couple of books in each hand, with arms outstretched to the side. The books got heavier, the arms trembled, we looked like those guys straining and suffering in strongest man competitions.

I was rapped across the knuckles a few times with a pointer, but nothing really serious. And the worst punishment? Washing windows on weekends for those who were continued miscreants.
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Re: Catholic Schools

Postby donovan » Wed Apr 21, 2010 6:51 pm

billybud wrote:Parris Island's normal behaviour towards "boots" in 1964 and 1965 would be considered abuse today. It is a moving target.

Yes, there was discipline...some of which could be corporal. I had to stand on tip toes, keeping my nose in a drawn circle on a blackboard. The calves start burning, shaking, cramping. We also had to stand with a couple of books in each hand, with arms outstretched to the side. The books got heavier, the arms trembled, we looked like those guys straining and suffering in strongest man competitions.

I was rapped across the knuckles a few times with a pointer, but nothing really serious. And the worst punishment? Washing windows on weekends for those who were continued miscreants.


...and among your other talents, I now believe you are a trained expert window washer.......
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Re: Catholic Schools

Postby Spence » Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:28 pm

billybud wrote:Parris Island's normal behaviour towards "boots" in 1964 and 1965 would be considered abuse today. It is a moving target.

Yes, there was discipline...some of which could be corporal. I had to stand on tip toes, keeping my nose in a drawn circle on a blackboard. The calves start burning, shaking, cramping. We also had to stand with a couple of books in each hand, with arms outstretched to the side. The books got heavier, the arms trembled, we looked like those guys straining and suffering in strongest man competitions.

I was rapped across the knuckles a few times with a pointer, but nothing really serious. And the worst punishment? Washing windows on weekends for those who were continued miscreants.


We did all of that too. Did you ever have to "sit" in the chair that wasn't there? I hated that almost as bad as having the books in my outstretched hands. That one was murder - no matter what size books they used - time meant more then weight. I much rather get the "board of education" and get it over with. :lol:
"History doesn't always repeat itself but it often rhymes." - Mark Twain

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Re: Catholic Schools

Postby donovan » Wed Apr 21, 2010 9:45 pm

"No matter what you do, please...please do not call my parents."
As I age it is hard to tell if I am inspired by reasoned passion or arthritic knees; most likely it is arthritic reasoning.

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Re: Catholic Schools

Postby Spence » Wed Apr 21, 2010 10:53 pm

donovan wrote:"No matter what you do, please...please do not call my parents."



Been there, done that. :lol:
"History doesn't always repeat itself but it often rhymes." - Mark Twain

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Re: Catholic Schools

Postby Derek » Thu Apr 22, 2010 9:34 pm

billybud wrote:Parris Island's normal behaviour towards "boots" in 1964 and 1965 would be considered abuse today. It is a moving target.

Yes, there was discipline...some of which could be corporal. I had to stand on tip toes, keeping my nose in a drawn circle on a blackboard. The calves start burning, shaking, cramping. We also had to stand with a couple of books in each hand, with arms outstretched to the side. The books got heavier, the arms trembled, we looked like those guys straining and suffering in strongest man competitions.

I was rapped across the knuckles a few times with a pointer, but nothing really serious. And the worst punishment? Washing windows on weekends for those who were continued miscreants.


Yes, boot camp is a breeze today, especially if they train men and women together (a dreadful practice :evil: )...I once, thanks to my smart mouth, did jumping jacks until I passed out in 1988. I quit counting after about 300-400 or so, and about 20 minutes later (maybe after 900 or so)...I hit the floor.

Did I mention this was in the showers with the hot water steaming everything up?? They didn't play around even 20 years ago.
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Re: Catholic Schools

Postby billybud » Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:26 am

Yep...I remember one night, after we left a drop out on a run, where we exercised for hours, the squad bay floor was a puddle of sweat and puke and nobody would quit. I was praying for someone to die.

Another night after a screw up we practiced the manual of arms...with footlockers (called lockerboxes by the Corps), "Right shoulder. lockerboxes", "Left shoulder, lockerboxes" etc.

A favorite torture was to make sure that the fire watch awakened you on the hour all night so that you could fill a pail with water and run outside and douse the inside of the dumpster. After several nights, you were dazed.

And hit us? Oh yeah. I was slammed around pretty hard for having an attitude. That 18 year old surliness soon evaporated after marching all night outside the squad bay with a pack full of sand.

It served me well....by the time that I got out to California and the famed physical hazing given by UDT and the Seals (Marine Recon went through underwater beach recon training at Coronado Beach at the Seal/UDT base), I was fully prepared.
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Re: Catholic Schools

Postby Grayghost » Sat Apr 24, 2010 12:49 am

Interesting the similarities between Catholic School and Boot Camp.

My Father went to Christian Brothers in Sacramento...described all the same things that billybud described. He also joined the Marines and spent 30+ years, mostly the reserves.

Myself, I wanted to go to Christian Brothers, but my folks couldn't afford it, so I went to public school. Got my Catholic training in catechism every Wednesday afternoon after school at the local Catholic church starting in 3rd grade. Yes, nuns are a terrifying sight to behold. :shock:

I too went on to join the Marines in '86. Yes, I got hit. But, becoming a squad leader, I also did some hitting, so it evened out. Stupidly got sucked into Security Forces by my recruiter, when after hitting a 97 on my ASVAB, he told me I could have any job I wanted. Didn't want to be a grunt, didn't want to be a cannon cocker, or tanker...went through the whole darn book of MOS's and couldn't decide. The recruiter looks at me and says, "Let me tell you about Security Forces"...pha...nothing more than glorified grunts. So I ended up 03walk-a-lot, or 03bullet-stopper...take your pick. Ah man...good times...good times.
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Re: Catholic Schools

Postby billybud » Sat Apr 24, 2010 12:46 pm

ain't everybody an 0311 first , last, and always...no matter your specialty?
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Re: Catholic Schools

Postby Derek » Sat Apr 24, 2010 6:09 pm

billybud wrote:Yep...I remember one night, after we left a drop out on a run, where we exercised for hours, the squad bay floor was a puddle of sweat and puke and nobody would quit. I was praying for someone to die.

Another night after a screw up we practiced the manual of arms...with footlockers (called lockerboxes by the Corps), "Right shoulder. lockerboxes", "Left shoulder, lockerboxes" etc.

A favorite torture was to make sure that the fire watch awakened you on the hour all night so that you could fill a pail with water and run outside and douse the inside of the dumpster. After several nights, you were dazed.

And hit us? Oh yeah. I was slammed around pretty hard for having an attitude. That 18 year old surliness soon evaporated after marching all night outside the squad bay with a pack full of sand.

It served me well....by the time that I got out to California and the famed physical hazing given by UDT and the Seals (Marine Recon went through underwater beach recon training at Coronado Beach at the Seal/UDT base), I was fully prepared.


You were in Coronado???? I was there for a while...washed out. :oops: That's not for people that can't swim like Banshees. I could not.
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Re: Catholic Schools

Postby donovan » Sat Apr 24, 2010 6:15 pm

Championing the United States Army on this site would be about as futile as defending the WAC. :D :D
As I age it is hard to tell if I am inspired by reasoned passion or arthritic knees; most likely it is arthritic reasoning.


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