Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Fairborn High School Newshawk
View the 9/2/1983 edition of the Fairborn High School Newshawk (PDF format)
Today’s fun item is a copy of the September 2, 1983 Fairborn High School Newshawk student newspaper (which I found in the same box as yesterday’s Books & Co. newsletter). This was the first edition of my senior year in high school and the second year of the new combined Fairborn High School.

As you can see in the PDF of this issue, the paper’s original name was the Skyhawk, mirroring the new school’s mascot, but the 83–84 staff decided the paper needed a better name. It looks like the new name stuck — there is still a Fairborn High School NewsHawk and it’s now available online, although they’ve taken to capitalizing the “H” in the paper’s name and they 83–84 Newshawk staff:

Clockwise from front:
Jon Hobbs, Bob Dornbusch, Tom Winans, Missy Ross, Jeff Dierker, Holly Gros, Sharon Truex
got rid of the fun original logo, replacing it with something boring. The paper’s current website has archives, but only back to 2006.

As with yesterday’s Books & Co. newsletter, this copy of the Newshawk harkens back to pre-desktop publishing days, with typewritten columns and images and graphics that were literally cut and pasted into place.

My copy of this edition is incomplete, as you’ll notice if you open the PDF. I ripped off a piece from the back page, probably a coupon, but I don’t remember for what. I didn’t use the Godfather’s Pizza coupon (expired 10/1/83) — I was never a fan of Godfather’s pizza, though my sister was, and I didn’t use the Crazy Cat’s Top 40 Video Games coupon (no expiration date) either.

I didn’t remember the article from page 3 of this issue, which likens the paper’s readers to prison inmates — “You are officially an inmate of Fairborn High School.” — but that was certainly an apt metaphor for how I felt back then, even if the article’s author was just trying to be funny. But I did my time and my prison days of high school are long ago!

Update: 9/12/2012

View the 4/13/1984 edition of the Fairborn High School Newshawk (PDF format)

View the 12/22/1983 edition of the Fairborn High School Newshawk (PDF format)
Okay, I scanned another copy I had of the Newshawk, this time volume 2, issue 8, from April 13, 1984. This issue is much larger than the first one of the year, with 26 pages, and on its front page features an article about a favorite teacher of mine, about whom I’ve previously blogged, Mr. Seewer, who, as reported in this Newshawk, was named “Outstanding Teacher of American History” by the Ohio society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. In 1984 Mr. Seewer, who subsequently would get his doctorate, had already been teaching in Fairborn for 17 years.

This issue also features profiles of some seniors from the Class of ’84, including David Teal, who I haven’t thought of in years. I used to have quite a crush on him. David, if you ever google yourself and see this, sorry, I don’t mean to make you uncomfortable, but you were quite the hottie with your blond hair and blue eyes.

Mr. Seewer

David Teal

Update: 9/13/2012

One last update, another copy of the Newshawk from 83–84, which from sheer laziness I’m appending to this post.

This one is volume 2, issue 5, from December 22, 1983. It really is a look into another world, isn’t it? It’s not just that this newspaper is from the pre-desktop publishing era. One article reports that the Soviets walked out of the Geneva talks — God, kids in high school today were born well after the demise of the Soviet Union! — and another page features comments from students about what they think of the possibility of nuclear war. There’s mention of the smoking problem — yes, children, at one time students were allowed to smoke in certain areas of high schools! And then there’s the lovely photo on the front cover, showing Tom Marcellino working on a TRS-80 (not a state-of-the art machine even in late 1983).

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

Welcome, Skyhawks!

Our illustrious mascot Ah, irony. Despite my having told my former classmates from Fairborn High School’s Class of 1984 to go away (see “Go [away], Skyhawks!”) a couple years ago, people looking on the Intertubes for Fairborn High School and in particular for Fairborn High School’s Class of 1984 keep ending up on my website. In fact, my site is now the number one result if you google “Fairborn High School” “Class of 1984”.

Well, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, I guess. No, I still do not plan on attending any of my class reunions, but I do have a little present for the Class of ’84. I still have my color photo of the class, with everyone*’s photos in little ovals, and so I scanned it and made a little web page of it. Click on the above photo to go to http://www.davidlauri.com/class_of_84. On that page you can hover over a thumbnail, and that person’s photo will pop up. Knock yourself out and see how many people you remember.

Also, no comments about my fabulous hair, please. My best friend Jim will be delighted to see my senior photo, but he knows full well that I have a fabulous photo of him which could also be posted online.

* Actually as it turns out this nifty color photo of the Class of ’84 is missing about 87 people. If I recall correctly, our class had 444 people in it, and the photo has only 357, so it’s missing almost a fifth of our class. I never realized that before setting up this web page. Maybe the missing folks are in our senior yearbook—I haven’t checked. Who knows, maybe these missing people had a worse time than I did in high school and didn’t even get their photos taken?

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

A message for queer kids: It gets better.

If you’ve been a regular reader of my blog, you may recall a post I wrote a couple years ago—“Go [away], Skyhawks!”—in which I shared a few memories of my high school years, explaining how they weren’t the best years of my life and that I thus didn’t care to participate in my 25th high school reunion. (Interestingly, despite my telling Skyhawks to go away, searches for “Fairborn High School” and even “Fairborn High School class of 1984” are among those bringing people most frequently to my website.) It probably won’t surprise you (although it would have in fact surprised my teenaged self) that I’m not alone in feeling that way. Lots of queers do not look back fondly on high school.

In fact, quite a few queer teens right now aren’t having great high school experiences. Despite all the gains queers have made, despite the fact that queer teens are portrayed on such great shows such as Glee, there are still queer teens who are being bullied in school, who feel alone. Some feel so alone that they think the only way out is to kill themselves, which is what 15-year-old Billy Lucas of Greensburg, Indiana, did earlier this month, hanging himself rather than continuing to put up with being bullied for being different.

Was Billy Lucas queer? It’s impossible to know for certain, but he did get called “gay,” according to schoolmates of his (see this Fox 59 news report), and probably using ruder words like “faggot” Cocksucker! Does it offend you to see the word “cocksucker” here? Well it should offend you more that kids in schools across the country are shouting “cocksucker” at their queer schoolmates. and “homo” and “cocksucker” and many other words that newspapers won’t print.

How do I know what words Billy Lucas got called? Because I got called those words myself growing up (long before I ever sucked a cock or admitted to anyone that I wanted to). Bigots and bullies haven’t gotten more creative over the years.

And, again, though I didn’t realize it then, I wasn’t the only one. The Fox 59 news story about Billy Lucas’s suicide and bullying quotes a former student from his high school who also got called names and who got beaten up and whose “awful memories of high school came rushing back when he heard about Billy’s suicide.” This former student is only 21 and refused to be identified, but there are plenty of us who’ve since come out and will testify openly to our shitty treatment.


Someone else who’s willing to testify to the shitty treatment queer kids have faced and continue to face is Dan Savage, editorial director of The Stranger, Seattle’s independent weekly newspaper, and more famous as the foul-mouthed author of the long-running sex advice column “Savage Love.” Savage posted on The Stranger’s blog about Billy Lucas’s suicide, and now he’s sharing some of his own horror stories, how his being “really different” made school bad, how he got “picked on a lot, even by teachers too,” how he got beat up (read this New York Times story for details).

But Savage wants to do more than just talk about how bad school has been and how bad school is for so many queer kids. He wants to reach out to queer kids who are currently being bullied and who may currently be contemplating suicide with a message:
It gets better.

Savage realized that we queers who’ve survived may not be able to stop the current crop of Here’s a message from me to Candi Cushman of Focus on the Family: Fuck you! asshole bullies from making life miserable for their queer classmates (or to keep asshole organizations such as Focus on the Family from supporting anti-gay bullies), but we do have the power to let the younger queers following up behind us know that they’re not alone, that life does get better if only they can hang on long enough.

And one way to get that message out there is through a tool we didn’t have as kids, namely YouTube. Savage has created a YouTube Channel called “It Gets Better,” and
Watch Dan Savage and his husband Terry
he’s managed to convince his publicity-shy (and cute) husband Terry to appear in the channel’s first video, in which Dan and Terry talk not only about their difficult experiences growing up queer but also and more importantly about how great their lives have been since high school. Since that first video, many more have been added, and more are coming.

Will I do a video? Probably not. I’ve done my part by highlighting this campaign, by being openly gay, and by talking about gay issues on this blog, including some of my experiences in school. That Skyhawks post I mentioned at the start of this post wasn’t all negative—I point out in it that “my life since high school has been much, much better,” and it’s true, my life has been good. It would have been better if I’d gotten this message as a teenager.

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that I graduated from Fairborn High School. Well recently, after having spent several years packed away in a box in my mother’s attic, my high school yearbooks have resurfaced, and tucked away in my 1983 yearbook was a program for a production of Our Town, held November 12–13, 1982, the first production of the first year of the post-Baker/Parks Hills merger Fairborn High School.

Cover of the Our Town program
(Click image to embiggen)

Dave Kraus and Trina Kittle
The Stage Manager (Dave Kraus)
and Professor Willard (Trina Kittle)
(Click image to embiggen)

Although I’d forgotten about this production for years and years, having seen the program again I do remember now. That Bob Stemen (about whom I’ve written previously) was in the play I remembered, but I had not remembered that Katrina Kittle was also in it. Well she was, as you can see from this photo of English teacher Dave Kraus and her in their roles as the Stage Manager and Professor Willard, although if you look at the cast listing (either to the right or in the PDF version of the program) you’ll note that Katrina was then billed as “Trina.”

Katrina’s one of just a few people from my high school years with whom I’ve had some contact since. Outside Dayton she’s probably better known as an author, but in Dayton Katrina remains an active thespian in community theatre. If you haven’t read her books, you should, and be sure to catch her in the Dayton Theatre Guild production of The Hallelujah Girls opening Thanksgiving weekend.

Although I’ve complained about parts of my time in high school, I enjoyed most of my classes and liked learning and most of my teachers. Dave Kraus, pictured above with Katrina, was one of my English teachers, and I don’t suppose it’s bragging too much to link to something else I found in one of my yearbooks, namely this note from Mr. Kraus praising me for having had, as a freshman, “the highest point total in all three of [his] predominantly sophomore Novels classes.” Yes, I was a nerd and good in school, for all that matters years later (as the Rev. Melvin Younger pointed out back then).

(in the order in which they speak)
Stage Manager Dave Kraus
Dr. Frank Gibbs William Fulmer
Joe Crowell Scott Hoag
Howie Newsome Kelly Green
Mrs. Julia Gibbs Tracy Walters
Mrs. Myrtle Webb Angi Deel
George Gibbs Eric Purtle
Rebecca Gibbs Kim Kurowski
Wally Webb Joseph Vap
Emily Webb Carla Beck
Professor Willard Trina Kittle
Mr. Charles Webb Don Griffith
Mrs. Taylor Missy Ross
Mrs. Lawson Sharen Truex
Mrs. Scott Denise Riley
Simon Stimson Bryon Hollis
Mrs. Louella Soames Vanessa Atkin
Constable Bill Warren Bob Stemen
Si Crowell Jeff Cox
Sam Craig John Danish
Joe Stoddard Jeff Ross
Mrs. Benson Krisi Zamagni
Mr. Carter Don Kennedy
Mrs. Allen Kim Clark
Farmer McCarthy Mark Collins
Monday, December 8th, 2008
Go [away], Skyhawks!

Yesterday a November letter addressed to me at the house I grew up in in Forest Ridge caught up to me via my mother (who also has lived elsewhere for many years). The letter was from the reunion committee of the Class of 1984 of Fairborn High School telling of all the great things they’ve planned for our 25th reunion next year and asking for updated contact info.

Our illustrious mascot
Wondering about the atrocious colors on this blog post? Read about them below.
Fun find:
When I was searching on Google for a copy of the Skyhawk logo, what should catch my eye in the search results but this young hottie:

I don't know his story (the Dayton Daily News story was expired), but go Skyhawk!

Well I regret to inform them that I won’t be providing them with updated contact info, nor will I be attending their festivities. Not that they care, I’m sure.

For some people (reunion committee members, perhaps?), their high school years were the proverbial best years of their lives. For me, thank God, that is not the case. My life since high school has been much, much better. The foremost reason for that is that I woke up to the fact that I wasn’t the only homosexual in the world, that I didn’t have to try to be someone I wasn’t and that by my being openly gay my homosexuality would no longer be something people could use to make my life uncomfortable. (In fact, being out of the closet means I get to make other people uncomfortable!)

It’s not that I was completely miserable in high school. I got good grades (straight As except for one single B*), liked learning and enjoyed most of my classes. I had some friends (mostly girls), a few of whom I’ve even seen in the last few years.

But there were days I really wasn’t happy and there were classes I really hated. Gym class, of course, I absolutely dreaded. Take a faggy boy and force him to show day after day that he has absolutely no athletic aptitude whatsoever. Oh what fun! Top it off with teachers who were either indifferent to name-calling and bullying or worse yet were oblivious to it. (Years later one of my high school gym/health teachers, a woman, attended my church for a while; when I told her how miserable I’d been in gym class, she was completely surprised!)

John Coppock (from his 1984 yearbook photo)
John Coppock

A fun example of a day in my life back then that I remember even now is being in the locker room after gym class and John Coppock yelling "Hey faggot!" at me and then mooning me. As it turns out John was both smart and stupid. He was absolutely right that I’m a faggot. But did he think that showing his tight pale buttocks to a fag was a good idea? (Thanks, John, for supplying me some masturbatory material! Trashy trailer park redneck boys can indeed be hot.) [Dean Christopher, on the other hand, who flashed his gross anus at me during one assembly need not worry; he was ugly and can consider himself safe from all gay men and probably from all women.]

So, no, I don’t really care to trek out to Fairborn (a place where when they say they’re going downtown, they mean Central and Main, not downtown Dayton) to spend time with a bunch of breeders, most of whom I’m sure are perfectly nice people but most of whom probably also voted for Issue 1 (and now probably couldn’t even tell you what Issue 1 was). If some miracle occurs and my former classmates decide they’d like to make up for their past ignorance perhaps by apologizing to their LGBT classmates, perhaps by making a collective Class of 1984 donation to a Fairborn High School Gay/Straight Alliance, then sure, let me know. Otherwise, I’m way, way, way, past done trying to get their approval.

*A note about grades: At our class baccalaureate ceremony the Rev. Melvin Younger (who lived with his family across the street in Forest Ridge and whose daughter Brenda was in my class and was Homecoming Queen) caused mild consternation among parents by saying that we kids would discover as we grew older that our high school grades didn’t matter. He was right.

**School colors: The current Fairborn High School is the child of two predecessor schools, Fairborn Baker High School and Fairborn Park Hills High School. Baker, when Park Hills was started, inherited the original Fairborn High School’s mascot, the Flyers, and school colors of blue and gold, while Park Hills chose the Vikings and colors of brown and gold. In 1983 Baker kids would have been oh so pleased for the merged high school, which is located in Park Hills’ building, to have kept the blue and gold and the Flyers, but to appease the Park Hills kids both mascots were ditched for the stupid Skyhawks and the two schools’ colors were merged so that the new school had colors of blue, brown and gold. Except they didn’t get Baker’s blue right, instead using a pale blue. Now it seems the brown and gold are gone from the current Skyhawk logo with Baker’s blue returned.

Sunday, January 25th, 2004
For my ENG341 class, we have to write memoirs about teachers who taught us something about teaching. (That we have to write memoirs and that the subject of our memoirs is so tightly guided is an issue for another time.) We could write about someone from our college days, but I'm choosing to follow the advice of my ENG101 TA (for whom I also had to write a memoir), which is that one shouldn't write memoirs about events in the past few years because the significance of such events hasn't yet gelled. Besides which I also don't want to write about people my ENG341 instructor or my peer reviewers might know.

That leaves high school teachers since I really don't remember much about my elementary and junior high teachers. High school was not a fun time for me, despite everyone at the time saying that these would be the best years of my life. Thank God everyone at the time was wrong.

I did have some good experiences in high school, though, one being AP History, taught by Mr. Seewer (who got his doctorate after I graduated and who I understand has retired in the last couple years). I dug out my old Fairborn High School yearbooks from 1983 and 1984 and scanned a few pics. I'd remembered that we had to write an essay every Friday and that each week a lucky student got to use Mr. Seewer's Commodore to type up his or her essay, but I didn't remember this picture of Bob Stemen typing on (or as the yearbook caption reads, "programming his report into") the computer.

More fun high school reminiscing later.
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