Monday, December 3, 2007
The Joyful Elite
That's what a New York Magazine article in the eighties called the students of my high school alma mater, Hunter College High School. So of course some enterprising smart-ass went and had "Joyful Elite" buttons made up and sold them for two bucks a piece. They sold out in an afternoon or two.
Anyway, according to an Alumnae/i Association e-mail, Hunter (or the Brick Prison, as we called it) was just ranked the top public high school nationwide by the Wall Street Journal, and 14th overall. (The private schools that beat it out charge up to $32,000 for tuition.)
One thing I don't quite get. The way they judged the schools was by who got the most students into certain colleges, which is already a pretty one-dimensional way of judging a high school. But the colleges they chose were Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Williams, Swarthmore, the University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins and Pomona.
Now, I can understand Harvard being in there. After all, it is the Stanford of the East, as we used to say in Palo Alto. But why not just put Stanford on the list? As it stands, Pomona is the only representative of a quality West Coast undergraduate education, which obviously weights the results towards East coast prep schools.
Meanwhile, in trying to find that Joyful Elite article, I stumbled across (what else?) the Wikipedia page for HCHS and discovered all the distinguished alums: Audre Lord, Cynthia Ozick, Angela Bofill, Manohla Dargis, Cynthia Nixon, Eli Attie (who in addition to playing bass in my high school band also happened to write Al Gore's final concession speech in 2000). Pretty impressive. I'm kind of surprised I went six years to the place and never knew Audre Lord was an alum, though.