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May 22, 1976 - Image 6

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1976-05-22

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Page Six

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Soturdoy, May 22, 1976

The Clemente 'family New
concepts in alternative ed

By JAY LEVIN .
[lIM IS 13 YEARS OLD, a soft spoken
boy with delicate features and long,
blond hair hanging over his blue eyes. He
used to attend the Scarlet School in Ann
Arbor, but was expelled for a variety of
reasons, including possession of dope and
carrying a knife to class.
"The teachers-they hated me. I'd nev-
er come to their classes," says Tim with
a laugh.
Tim still carris the knife-for protec-
tion, he claims - but not anywhere near
his pew school, the Roberto Clemente Stu-
dent Development Center, one of the many
so-called alternative schools popping up
on the educational scene. Despite the fact
he still occasionally takes a toke on a
joint, Tim's attitude toward learning has
gone through a metamorphosis after only
a few months at Clemente, and with it, he,
himself, has mellowed.
NAMED FOR THE LATE, great Pitts-
burgh Pirate baseball' player, the
Clemente school, now in its third year
is housed in an unassuming, low-slung
building amid the grassy rural reaches
of Ypsilanti. It deals primarily with those
students who are disenchanted with, or
facing problems in the traditional Ann
Arbor schools.
"I'm doing a lot better all around," says
Tim. "This school is a helluva lot better.
At Scarlet, I never went to my math class.
My math teacher here, Mark, he's learned
me a lot since I've been here. I feel bet-
ter about myself," he continues. "I used
to hate my mom. I'm starting to like her
now.
Tim's story tells only part of the reason
why Clemente has effectively helped teens
and pre-teens who are disenchanted with
the traditional educational system, change
according to their own needs - not the
school's. The predominantly young staff of
fourteen, makes ample use of a set of
philosophies stressing peer pressure, the
student-teacher relationship and such con-

cepts as "belonging," "understaA
"communication," "family" and "ht
to wipe away the alienation most s
were forced to bear in their old s
"We more or less meet individual
here," says Joseph Dulin, 40, Cles
effervescent principal, and nationally
black educator with 18 years expe
"A teacher can't come in and sa
to page 350' when a lot of the k
not ready to turn to 350," he eQ
"Some are ready for page 25, th
ten."
I -JULIN, A PLUMP, bearded m
sports a blue windbreaker,
stantly absent from his cubicle-si
fice, wandering the halls of the sr
school and playfully mugging and
with the kids. In fact, he has bs
such a rapport with the school's
students that he takes on the rot
surrogate father, welcoming calls
them at all hours of the day and
"Some parents say to me 'why
tell you they're pregnant before ste,
Dulin, "I say 'they have to tell some
Leon, a vocal 17 year old, call
"the type of principal you can de;
Most principals hide behind their
but Joe tells us what he expects
and we tell Joe what we expect of
Walking through the halls, one car
the unique air of openness betwe
dent, teacher and principal. The firs:
basis is a cardinal rule, and
greet the staff with good natured
Words commonly thought of as
tory, such as "honkie" and "ugli
sprayed around in playful manner,
this openness, displayed also in r,
sions and informal chats, comes
found honesty. One of the school's of
mottos is "verbal confrontation with,
sical abuse."
There is more to Clemente, h
than communication. Dulin and the
ers have instilled in the students a
knit sense of family, "The Clemente
ly," as it is commonly called, wh'

'NIGHTMARE SEASON':
The Chargers' 'ups' and 'downs'

TfIE NIGHTMARE SEASON, by Arnold
J. Mandell, M.D. New York: Random
House, 216 pps., $7.95.
By GORDON ATCHESON
FOTBALL is just a game. It was created
as recreation-albeit a bone-crunching,
head snapping variety. But recreation, none-
theless. To make it into more than that, is
to spoil the product.
Arnold Mandell has seen football at its
biggest, most expensive worst. And The
Nightmare Season is his account of the
hapless San Diego Chargers of the National
Football League. During the 1973 season,
Mandell, a psychiatrist, served as the
Chargers "psychological" coach. His job
was to try to motivate the players to
greater heights of physical achievement by
psyching them up. Unfortunately, Mandell
wasn't particularly good at that job -
the Chargers ended the season with a dis-
couraging last place finish, after being
hearlded as the up and coming team.
IHE BOOK IS less the story of the au-
thor than of the deterioration of the

players - all of whom are drilled to want
victory more than anything else - as they
realize the season will just be one loss
after another. The man who suffers most
is Charger Coach Harland Svare. He sees
his job slowly slip away with each defeat
and appears powerless to change what
seems to be fate. Of course, the end of
the season brings the inevitable for Svare
- a little pink slip telling him that he's
through as coach. With him goes Mandell
- who represents just one of many noble
experiments that didn't pan out.
Unfortunately, Mand'ell is not by trade
a writer and it shows in some parts of
the book., Too often the descriptions are
wooden and cliched: he presents Duane
Thomas as "the' eccentric but incredibly
great running back." That kind of language
is second-rate sports reporting. Not the
stuff of full-length books.
Mandell, however, is sensitive enough to
keep the structure simple. He doesn't try
to wow the reader with his large vocabu-
lary or his ability to construct flowery yet
vapid sentences. So in general, the book

is crisp and tight, if not spectacularly
well-written. The reader is drawn into the
rising tensions, as it becomes more and
more obvious that Svare is headed for
unemployment.
UNDERLYING THIS HUMAN drama are
several tangental issues that have
more to do with pro football in general
than the ineptness of the San Diego Charg-
ers. Drug use among athletes and the de-
humanization of football players, as they
prepare for their weekly gladitorial con-
tests, are two of the thorniest issues
broached.
Here, Mandell's book really shines. He
was out of his element trying to recon-
struct diologue and setting, but research
and participant observer studies constitute
the man's home turf.
In part, Mandell came to the Chargers
to counsel the players on drug use and
abuse - a rampant problem among pro
football teams. These guys take uppers
before the games, downers afterwards, and
pain-killers just about all the time. Often

the drugs are gotten illegally or une
A GAIN, UNFORTUNATELY f1
Chargers and Mandell, the Hv
cided to investigate the San Dieg
as a sacrificial lamb to the peopl
ing for a crack-down on drugs. N
recounts how he was called before t
missioner and ultimately was banned
the sport forever because he wrotel
prescriptions for amphetimenes for
who had been using illegal, subst
and even dangerous substitutes. di
cause he tried to counsel the playe
estly about the prosy and cons of dt
AS HE SAYS in concluding, "I
to teach, do research, and see
at the university. Ross (his son)
have season tickets to the Charget
watch them religiously on televisi
it will never be the same."
Gordon Atcheson is a former co
in-chief of the Daily and currently.
porter for the Ypsilanti Press.

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