Embrace your inner prep

Aubrey Burgess, Senior Editor of the Flyer

I have been called preppy only a couple times in my life. Each time, I was never offended but always slightly shocked when the words reached my ears. Preppy is Harvard, Yale, and Ivy leagues where Ralph Lauren is life and all sweaters must be worn fashionably tied around the neck. I have always brushed this aside as a hasty generalization. Stepping into Northwest High School, I realized that even if I take off my uniform, Carroll goes more than skin deep. After 11 years of Catholic School, 1,958 days, and 10,967 hours my outlook on life has been affected.

At Northwest, I observed school to be more like a business agreement between the students and the institution. Attendees agreed to put in the time required, but did so on a skin deep level. The average student spoke and interacted with peers and instructors in an informal way. Many students appeared to be present only in order to fulfill this figurative student-school contract. They were interested in the content, and participated but only up to the degree required. By no means does this observation apply to all Northwest students, it is simply one element that I found interesting.

“It is not like pride in school work,” one Northwest student said “most people are not excited to be in the classroom.”

I witnessed student’s feet propped up on desks, conversations in which the teacher was addressed as “bro” or “man,” and individuals openly using cell phones while the lessons were conducted.

During passing periods few students went to their lockers. Most congregated with their friends in the commons areas, breaking into racial groups Northwest students referred to as “Little Africa” and “Little Mexico”. Students were also not shy about personal displays of affection (PDA’s) during this passing period.

At Northwest, seniors and juniors were allowed to leave for lunch. During this 45 minute break many individuals chose to bring a lunch and ride along with friends, eat at a nearby fast food venue, or buy cheap lunch at Quik Trip or Dillons. After participating in this program, I can honestly say I am glad Carroll stopped. Leaving for lunch was unproductive. The time, gas, and effort it took to leave school outweighed the daunting task of making a sandwich the night before.

After all those years of uniformity, I had one day to toss aside the plaid and integrate myself in the public school system. I thought I would feel sheltered and naïve. Surprisingly, I felt neither. I was a spy. I had painted my uniform blue and adorned myself in the public school disguise. In doing so, I realized that the Catholic School system has bestowed one hidden lesson. It has assisted me in understanding how to relate with people on a personal and sometimes secular level. Northwest was different, but the same. If I was to attend Public School I would survive, but below the surface I would still be the prep from Bishop Carroll.