In 2012, I was given the privilege of performing my high school ska-punk hit song "Adam Wants A Blowjob" during a performance of Mortified in Brookline, Massachusetts. Mortified is a gloriously hilarious and cathartic evening of performance, wherein people perform excerpts from their actual, real-life high school and college journaling and other writing. It's embarrassing; it's touching; and it's utterly delightful. In the years since then, I've had the privilege of performing my absolute worst high school pop-punk songs — some of which are so bad that it physically hurts me to play them — for sold-out audiences in Boston, New York, and Portland, Maine.
Over these years, I've gotten to know Mortified producer Sara Faith Alterman. Besides being a generally wonderful person, Alterman has a knack for figuring out the best way to present your most embarrassing high school material in the most enjoyable and emotionally impactful ways; I've worked with her enough that I can genuinely say that her curatorial eye is a true and rare talent.
And it's that unique talent that she's channelled perfectly into her new memoir, Let's Never Talk About This Again. I had glimpsed pieces of the story over the years — through Mortified performances, and through social media — but reading it all compiled with Alterman's trademark wit was a wonderful experience.
Given all that context, let me just pause for a moment to give you the official synopsis:
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Twelve-year-old Sara enjoyed an G-rated existence in suburban New England, filled with over-the-top birthday cakes, Revolutionary War reenactments, and nerdy word games invented by her prudish father, Ira.
This was created by the Loose Meat comedy troupe for Everything is Terrible. I couldn't tell you why, or how, but I also can't look away.
Image: Humor Blog / Flickr (CC 2.0) Read the rest
In this student-made video, students at Richland High School in Richland, Washington were asked what they thought of their mascot, which is a mushroom cloud. The Richland Bombers were in agreement that the logo is awesome.
The video then features a statement by a Japanese exchange student attending Richland. She is from Fukuoka, close to Nagasaki, which was hit by an atomic bomb in WWII. She says, "It is ironic that I ended up a Bomber. My city was initially targeted to be destroyed by the bomb. My grandparents would have been incinerated." She concludes with an articulate and moving request for her fellow students to think about what the logo represents to other people. Read the rest
Instead of feeding high school kids who were too poor to pay their lunch bill, a high school in Minnesota humiliated the students in front of the other students by throwing their hot meals in the garbage and giving them cold food instead, reports NBC News. After the school was exposed, they decided an apology was in order.
"We deeply regret our actions today and the embarrassment that it caused several of our students," the district wrote in a statement Monday. "We have met with some of the students involved and apologized to them."
Richfield Superintendent Steven Unowsky told KARE the actions of cafeteria staff were "inappropriate."
“There are multiple failures we had in this situation and our job is to fix it. First and foremost [in] the way we treated our kids. We should never leave kids with the feeling they had from the experience,” Unowsky said.
It seems like a decent apology. You can donate to the school district's meal account here. It's kind of difficult to do, so follow the directions closely.
Image: U.S. Department of Agriculture - Fruit-bar-pic---Web, Public Domain, Link Read the rest
Badin High School, a private Catholic school in Cincinnati, Ohio, announced that starting next year, all students will undergo mandatory drug tests at least annually. According to the school's new policy
, "If a student refuses to test when required to do so, the test will be treated as a positive test." The policy does not list what drugs will be screened for by the test and whether faculty and staff will also be tested. From WLWT
Positive drug tests will result in confidential counseling.
"This is in the best interests of the students," Pendergest said. "The impact of drug use on young students and their families is staggering, and our community is not immune to this issue. Being proactive on drug testing is the appropriate action on our part..."
"We're talking about a health and wellness issue, not a punitive issue," (principal Brian) Pendergest added. "For their own wellbeing, students should not be doing drugs. We want to help them to make the right choices."
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Abby Smith, a graduating senior at West Virginia's Parkersburg High School, claims that her principal, Kenneth DeMoss, plagiarized his commencement speech from Ashton Kutcher's monologue at the 2013 Teen Choice Awards. She originally posted the video above on her Facebook page.
According to Yahoo Lifestyle, "the principal directed Yahoo Lifestyle to the district's superintendent, who did not immediately respond to requests for comment, A Google search for "best motivational speech for teens" yields Kutcher's 2013 speech as the second video result."
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"So first, the opportunity," principal DeMoss said in the graduation ceremony video. "I believe that opportunity looks a lot like hard work. When I was a kid growing up, I didn't get paid to do chores. I had to do 'em. I had to run the vacuum cleaner, dust the house, clean my room, cut the grass. When I became 15, I had to get my first paid job working as a busboy, so I could pay for my own insurance to help drive my family car. I didn't have my own car, nor was I given one; the family had to share it. Then I got a job working as a waiter; then I got a job selling shoes at the mall, then I got a job being a laborer for a construction company carrying shingles up and down a ladder to a roof and cleaning up job sites. Sometimes I even did two jobs at once. At one point, I was juggling four part-time jobs, like going to college."
The drama club at New Jersey's North Bergen High School brought the classic sci-fi/horror story Alien to the stage for Alien: The Play. From Quartz:
A student playing a xenomorph expertly creeped about on stage and in the audience in the style of the titular alien. The student wore a costume made from donated foam, a plastic skeleton from the clearance aisle, and other materials, Entertainment Weekly reported. Other characters were photographed wearing spacesuits. And the sets were reportedly crafted from donated and recycled items, including old egg-carton boxes to create a computer lab.
A Reddit thread started by North Bergen High School student Justin Pierson, 17, who was part of the sound crew, said the play flows almost exactly like the film. But these students put together their production on a relatively shoestring budget.
"A US High School’s Crafty Production of “Alien” Is Going Viral" (Thanks, Mark Dery!)
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This is what the kids are up to these days, at least the kids in the dance program at Walden Grove High School in Sahuarita, Arizona.
You may remember last year when they performed a dance version of The Wizard of Oz for their homecoming pep rally. This year, they've performed a dance based on Harry Potter. Good stuff!
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Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School's class of 2018 got a surprise visit from late night talk show host Jimmy Fallon on Sunday. He took the stage at their graduation ceremony to deliver a humorous and heartfelt commencement speech.
When you think of commencement speakers, you think of people who are inspirational, people who are eloquent, people who've changed the world. When you think of high school students, you think of people who are immature, slightly awkward, still learning to be an adult.
Welcome to "Opposite Day."
The Parkland, Florida students were the survivors of the shooting that happened nearly four months ago on their campus. Seventeen of their classmates and school staff died in the tragedy on February 14, 2018.
Fallon said he and his wife and two young girls to the ceremony because "we wanted them to see what hope and light looks like."
Watch his full speech in the video above.
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It's no secret for anyone who knows me that I happen to be a long-time MMORPG player, but no game has grabbed my attention as completely as Guild Wars 2 has, due in no small part to the beautiful visuals and the incredible soundtrack. I'm a huge fan of video game music, having been to my share of Zelda and Final Fantasy concerts when they've been in the area.
Today, the ArenaNet folks have shared this amazing performance of excerpts from their Heart of Thorns expansion, performed by the Evergreen Philharmonic, in Issaquah, WA.
What makes this performance extra special is the composition of the orchestra itself: It's composed primarily of high-school students from the Issaquah area.
The Evergreen Philharmonic has been active since 1988 and has been an audition-only orchestra since 1991. Evergreen Philharmonic functions as an honors youth orchestra within the Issaquah School District, and has students from all three Issaquah High Schools.
Evergreen has performed in a variety of venues, such as the Washington State Ferries, the University of Washington, the University of British Columbia, Disneyland, and the University of Southern California. The orchestra has also travelled to perform in Paris, London, Quebec and Boston. In May of 2011 Evergreen Philharmonic played at Carnegie Hall, New York.
Read more about the Orchestra, this performance, or Heart of Thorns. Long live high school music programs!
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Math teacher at Dana Hills High School in southern California, late 1970s. Pitted. So pitted.
Posted by the engaged educator's son on r/OldSchoolCool and making the rounds again. Read the rest
My late father-in-law, Joe, was born and raised in Los Angeles, growing up during the heyday of hot rod culture. When I knew him he drove Corvettes and Camaros. In high school, Joe and his brother built Soap Box Derby racers. I recently came across an essay about Soap Box Derby racing that Joe wrote in 1957 when he was a student at Los Angeles High School. His teacher wrote, "This is one of the most *interesting* reports I've ever read!" He received a C+, though, because his spelling was atrocious (It was bad when I knew him, too - I think he had undiagnosed dyslexia) and he neglected to add footnotes or a bibliography. Here's a PDF scan of the essay.
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David Byrne and St Vincent are touring Contemporary Color, a concert accompanied by a huge, choreographed color guard show. Read the rest
Students from Utah's Wasatch County are pissed that some of their yearbook photos were digitally edited to reveal less skin while other photos of students wearing similar clothes went untouched.
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Educators said the students know the dress code and there was a sign warning them that their pictures may be edited. However, the Wasatch County Superintendent admits the school erred in not applying the same rules to each student.
“We only apologize in the sense that we want to be more consistent with what we`re trying to do in that sense we can help kids better prepare for their future by knowing how to dress appropriately for things,” said Terry E. Shoemaker, who is the superintendent of schools for the Wasatch County School District.
Yik Yak is a social app that's basically an anonymous, hyperlocal bulletin board. Over at New York Magazine, Will Haskel, a senior at Staples High School in Westport, Connecticut, wrote about the day this social media product fueled incredibly antisocial and brutally nasty behavior among his classmates. To illustrate, just a few of the endless stream of posts from the day:
“L. M. is affiliated with Al Qaeda.”
“The cheer team couldn’t get uglier.”
“K. is a slut.”
“J. N. is a fag.”
“The fact that O. P. has diabetes makes me happy.”
“S. D. + 10 years = trailer park.”
“Nobody is taking H. to prom because nobody has a forklift.”
“J. T.’s gonna get lynched at SMU.”
"A Gossip App Brought My High School to a Halt" (Thanks, DMD!) Read the rest