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October 28, 1983 - Image 19

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-10-28
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Choice
from Page 1
are the same at Community as they are
at the city's other two high schools, but
the scheduling of these classes is more
flexible over the four years.
The front steps of the building,
located at Division and Catherine,
usually are filled with students "just
hanging out" because the campus is
completely open. Students are free to
come and go as they please. Because of
this, passersby often assume the
students are not controlled by school of-
ficials.
But teachers, students, and ad-
ministrators at Community High are
used to misconceptions about the
school. They have learned to deal with
the stereotype that Community is a last
resort for burnouts or students who
couldn't make it at Huron or Pioneer,
Ann Arbor's traditional high schools.
"We're like spiders and snakes to
people," says math and science teacher
Steve Eisenberg. "People don't know
about us so they're scared to death of
us.
"What's your first impression when
you drive by and see all these kids with
mohawks and leather jackets?" he
says. "Our external facade may not be
one of structure, but we're more serious
about education than any other in-
stitution in the city."
As part of the Ann Arbor Schools
system, Community High is open to any
student in the district from ninth to
twelfth grade. Students must apply,
however, because enrollment is
limited. Currently about 310 students
attend Community High which is close
to capacity.
Community offers basic academic
classes in areas such as English and
mathematics, but also has courses
which probably would not be found in a
more traditional high school.
American Humor, for example, is an
English class where, according to the
course description, students "study the
funny business from Ben Franklin and
Mark Twain to Joan Rivers and Steve
Martin." A social studies class called
Fair Trial examines American history
by studying important trials. Com-
munity High also has a strong perfor-
ming arts department which features a
jazz band and a repertory company
that produces at least two plays each
year.
Community students also can take

1977 and currently deputy superinten-
dent of Ann Arbor schools.
With Community High's set up,
students can take as many theater or
computer classes as they want for a
year, then go back and pick up their
required courses later on, he said.
An important part of Community
High's curriculum is the Community
Resource Program which allows
students to earn credit for working or
taking classes outside the school. The
CR Program makes Community a
school without walls and helps students
explore possible careers. Although
there is no requirement, students are
encouraged to participate in the CR
Program each semester. Credit is ear-
ned based on the number of hours spent
studying or working - 90 hours is equal
to one half credit.

year,-alternative high schools already
had popped up in other cities around the
country including New York,
Philadelphia, and Chicago.
"We did not form (Community) sim-
ply because it was faddish," explains
Dean Bodley, the school's first dean.
"The prime reason was to more
specifically meet the needs of all
students."
At the time, many people believed
that the more rebellious students
needed to be put in smaller schools
where they could get more individual
attention.
"That was the drug era," remembers
Betsy King who has taught music and
theater at Community High since it
opened. The first students "were
different. They had to be. They
were poets and politicians. I learned so
k x
wn education
much from listening to them."
Community High traditionally has at-
tracted a varied student body, ranging
from those who were extremely bright
to others who might not graduate in
another setting. Although more
average students now are attending
Community, the school has retained a
certain uniqueness. Many students say
they chose to come to Community
because they didn't like the large size
(Pioneer has 1600 students, Huron has
1730) or rigid structure of the other two
schools.
"1 didn't think I would work out too
well with Pioneer or Huron and I didn't
want to go to a private school," says
senior Matt O'Brien, who is in his fourth
u "Wh I first
came herethere was a lot of choice.
gohereor flunk
Adds Deane Ross, who has attended
Community for almost a year, "At
Huron they seemed preoccupied about
test scores and homework. Here
they're interested in it, but there is life
after homework."
There are no bells to signal the start
of classes at Community, but the
students, for the most part, get to class
on time. Although they do have a lot of
freedom, they are expected to be in
class. If they aren't, the school is small
enough for teachersor administrators

to call home and find out where they
are.
Community High students are com-
fortable with their freedom and most
say they don't abuse it.
"If you miss a class, you're going to
miss something," says Mieke van
Rosevelt who had dropped out of Pioneer
and is now in her second year at Com-
munity. "If you're not forced, it's
easier to do it."
The laid-back, relaxed atmosphere
for both students and faculty is the real
difference at Community High. Studen-
ts call teachers and staff members by
their first names and teachers will take
time out to sit in the hall and talk to a
student who looks unhappy. The name
of the school itself accurately describes
the relationship between students and
faculty - that of a community.
As freshman Josh Meisner puts it,
"The kids don't get spaz about grades
and the teachers aren't spastic about
anything hardly."
Even those students who leave Com-
munity High to return to more
traditional high schools end up spen-
ding time at Community.
"My parents didn't think I was doing
well enough (at Community)," says Joe
Durrance who transferred to Pioneer in
September. But he hopes to transfer
back to Community High.
"You can dress any way you want
and no one cares at all. You can do
anything you want," he says. "I didn't
really notice it when I first came here,
but when I switched, I noticed (the dif-
ference) at Pioneer."
Durrance says he finds many studen-
ts at Pioneer have preconceived notions
about Community High. "They think
(Community) is for losers who couldn't
make it at another school - druggies
and burnouts and stuff. Every time I
hear something about Community it's
bad."
Former Pioneer student Steve
Plescia who transferred to Community
High this year says that many of his
fellow students at Pioneer tried to
discourage him from switching schools.
But once he got to Community, Plescia
says he found that students who had
been unmotivated at Pioneer were
among the most active students at
Community. They also were friendlier,
he says.
"People you don't even know will
come up and introduce themselves,"
Plescia says. "At Pioneer I sat for four
or five months and no one said a word to
me except when they responded in
class."
Community High students are expec-
ted to be more sure of what they want
and more capable of accepting respon-
sibility because there is no one to tell
them what to do all the time.
"You must decide you're going to do
well; put forth an effort," says Ann Ar-
bor resident, Lovey Bradley, whose
daughter attends Community High.
"There is an element of freedom that
would make parents think twice about
how their kids handle themselves."
Most teachers admit it's possible for
a student to get lost in the shuffle, but
the small ratio of students to teachers
helps safeguard against this.
Each student belongs to a "forum," a
small group of about 18 people. The
forums are led by faculty members
whose responsibility is to help students
with both academic and personal
problems. The forums are similar to
homerooms, but students get credit for
them and many do extra activities such
as organizing camping trips or school-
wide parties.
In addition to having a say in their
own education, students also have a say
in the way the school is run. Every
month there is a town meeting where
students, faculty, administrators, and

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Sonic
soup
Culture Club
Colour by Numbers
Virgin/Epic

Community High: Molding your ov
"They can do everything from
working at McDonald's to volunteering
at a law office to working in a stable,"
said acting CR director Debbie Low.
"For some students working at Mc-
Donald's is a big deal. They learn pun-
ctuality, responsibility, and how to deal
with people."

By C. E. Krell
R UNNING OVER THE eardrums
like a piece of caramel apple on a stick,
falling on the ground like red leaves and
the brown ones, comes Colour by Num-
bers, the latest album from Culture
Club. Sitting in a bedroom, walking
down the street, people humming
Culture Club, everyone you meet.
Hmmm la de dim dum la pssh twip dort
la la so li dum de. They form
their mouths into shapes and
little gasps of breathy
muscle push glance over
their lips. Not highly intellectual
nor highly ineffectual, the songs just
soak the atmosphere with a vortex of
sonic tonic - no, that's too bitter, we'll
call it sonic soup. Soup means more in
this case. Colour by Numbers has a
soupy taste.
It can't be highly ineffectual, because
look at the blonde lady picking up the
box of pearled barley and checking the
price, all the while listening to the song
on the radio she heard in her car on the
way here. By the time she has put down
the box and headed toward frozen
foods, the song has left her head for
other not necessarily dumb heads. Boy
George sings words that slip- over the
tongue like a piece of bazooka, that
stretch out and finally are inflated with
English
lit
Paul Young
No Parlez
Columbia/CBS
By BenTich o
O kay, okay, so we gotta 'nother pop
stah from the Ingles. So wot?
Paul Young is a video face whose voice
gets touching warts when he takes on
cheezy. songs in the style of Soft Cell,
Wham, and the rest of that reputable
set. He's a soul man whose sole role
seems to join the poll roll; and that he
has, to the tune of a gold record, top of
the Brit charts, and a truly wonderful
single, "Wherever I Lay My Hat
(That's My Home)."
With one stroke, Mr. Young fashions
a "love 'em and leave 'em" jerker wor-
thy of the best tears Gregg 'Ramblin'
Man' Allman ever shed. Listen to the
end, then listen again.
But the hat is of a fickle and fancy
fashion, and Young doesn't wear it well
on all occasions. The other two salient
songs on No Parlez are "Come Back
and Stay" and a cover version of Joy

air and pop. Pop goes the bubble but a
few chews later the pink mass in stret-
ched and blown again and pop, the
whole thing keeps going.
If the flavor runs out, buy a new piece
of gum. Whole swoops and chimes and
celestial chords buzz about people's
heads as they listen to this kind of thing.
Some group with a spirograph and ink
pens sits and draws it all out fairly
carefully, or maybe it's done free hand,
but you can't really say that there is
anything wrong with it. Wrong never
enters your mind when you listen to the
new Culture Club album. Wrong goes
far, far, far plunging deep away from
the outer cortex, and everything is just
sort of OK. Tinkertoys and bass strings
and programs and arrangements and
knobs and drums and voices and drums
and keyboards and ....
Why go on? Questions don't present
themselves here at times even negating
themselves before they start because
the drift just can't be missed. Culture
Club play and sing songs for people.
For no other reason than to have people
listen to them is this music produced.
For if it is not heard, it is not working.
Once heard, and smiled at and frowned
at, it succeeds.
I'll take my scotch with soda thanks,
and a drop of water, and some ice, and
maybe some tonic, and some fruit, and
a straw.
My building has every single, without
none, containing all it has every con-
venience. Every convenience.
Everything. Everybody. It is all here.
There it is, all. All. Something for you
and you and you and you and Boy
George can sing just fine and they can
play just fine and I'm humming and
everything is just fine and why won't it
rain and why does everything just have
to be OK but they do it well anyway.
There is no reason why everything
can't be entertaining. This is fun. Fun.
It is fun. Ultimately, swooping around

Boy George: Blows that Bazooka
your head are a bunch of people who
have fun. Your mother and the guy
next door and your baby sister are just
humming away and even this time
there is this white 'retha clone to sing
with Boy.

So what.
which doe:
stronger an
but weak.
the Boy is a
harmonica.

'The kids don't get spaz about grades and
the teachers aren't spastic about anything
hardly.' -Josh Meisner
Community High freshman

Moog; a she
bad, but a si
After the
Parlez spec
this disturb
existence, t
than music
like Mr. Yot
gets stuck i
traneous gi
The Fabulo
choking beg
When You
and his posi
He has the r
additions wl
the other, t
of the pop r
own weight.
Come on,
so ashamed
bad. Get
making X
backyard.']
mon People
a damn fine
Kurama" it
Too much
emotions.
This is a
far, too man
tracks to r
moisture yo
wet dream.
Mr. Young,
to Midnight
leave Ian Ct

classes and participate in ex-
tracurricular activitiespat Pioneer or
Huron, and any of Community's
programs are open to other district
students.
Class scheduling also is more flexible
than at other schools. Instead of each
class meeting one hour a day, five days
a week, students' schedules may vary
from day to day.
"Most students seem to adapt to that
(strict schedule), but sometimes you
get someone who is so turned on to
theater or computers they just want to
eat and sleep it," says Wiley Brownlee,
Community High Dean from 1973 to

In the past, students have received
credit for taking dance and tae kwon do
lessons and for taking University
classes. Although the CR director has
ideas for student, many come up with
their own.
The only limitation on the program is
that students cannot pay for outside
classes. To make up for this, students
could help clean up after class or
babysit for instructors' children, said
Low.
7)Y the time Community High opened
.Lat the beginning of the 1972-73 school

Young: Speaking English, not French

Division's "Lqve Will Tear Us Apart."
The former is an innocuous enough #1

single; the latter is a sacrilege. It's like
hearing Beethoven the first time on

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