Last week I got an e-mail from the alumni group at my high school. They were pleased and happy to announce the start of their big fundraising push for the new year: paving bricks. The construction of a new gymnasium allowed for a great deal of excavation, leaving a vast new expanse that needs to be filled back in, and you can buy your own personalized paving brick for as low as one hundred and fifty dollars. As tempted as I might have been to immortalize myself as a Boulder High supporter in stone, or something like it, I stopped short. I found out that the bricks would be "ruby red with white lettering." While this makes sense from a brick-making standpoint, it falls short on the school spirit side of things. Short to the point of being on the opposite side of things. Boulder High School's colors are purple and gold. Our most detested and derided crosstown-rival Fairview High's colors are red and white.
While I suppose I could sense some poetic justice or irony in buying something that would be stepped on by countless students, alumni and staff of Boulder High that reminded me of Fairview, why not create the optimum purple and gold environment? One that would surely overwhelm and intimidate all who enter as casual visitors?
Or maybe it's just because I've been an alumni for so many years, and I was only at the school for three. My niece, who only recently made that big jump, alerted me to another round of silliness occurring at our alma mater: A group of current BHS students want to change the name of the school to "Barack Obama High School." It reminded me of "The Wonder Years," in which Kevin Arnold's junior high school is abruptly renamed, in 1968, "Robert F. Kennedy Junior High." It seemed like the right thing to do, at the time. It is a chance to commemorate history, and at some level I feel compelled to salute the youthful idealism of the "Student Worker" club at Boulder High who spearheaded this movement. Then I feel the weight of history pulling me back: Boulder High is Colorado's oldest high school. Three generations of my family have prowled those halls. It is older, by a year, than the state of Colorado itself.
Acknowledging Barack Obama's historic achievement at this point seems a little hasty. Might I suggest we start with a nice paving brick?