Greetings, Fellow Students!
Greetings, fellow students! I say "fellow students" because although I cannot count myself among the ranks of those of you returning as pupils this fall to elementary school, high school, college, or to one of our many fine graduate schools in the arts and sciences, I still consider myself a student...of life. My classroom doesn't have a blackboard and desks but is all around me (and at this point I would like to remind those who have been carving their own names or the names of their favorite rock bands on their desks that this will not be tolerated this year, so a word to the wise). When you get out of school, you, too, should remember that learning doesn't end when the 3:30 bell rings. Indeed, it is just beginning. In that spirit, I'd like to take a few moments to discuss with you your tasks and responsibilities as students, at whatever fine school you may be attending. I know most of you have spent several years already at school, and to you I say [a thumbs up gesture] "Excellent! Good show!" But as we all know, a good education demands more than mere perseverance. To receive the full benefits of your schooling, there are a few keys to remember. I call them Keys to A Quality Education, or KAQE [emits a "kaaak" sound to snickers in the auditorium]. With these keys, you can unlock the doors to success. As a reminder, your complimentary KAQE key rings are available in my office in the basket on Mrs. Jesperson's desk. Please take just one so other students might have a chance to enjoy them in their own pockets and purses. A-hem. One. Each and every day, you have to bring more than your physical presence to the classroom. God gave all of us a brain, and we are expected to use it. Filling your brain with jokes from the television or music from the MTV is not using it. Using your brain involves linear thought processes and problem-solving in the classroom, and not memorizing and regurgitating the latest lyrics from Pearl Jams or Constant Crows or what have you. Two. You are in the classroom to listen to your instructors. Your instructors are not in the classroom to listen to your smart aleck remarks or your "funny" noises, which really are the hallmarks of immaturity. Squeaking, snorting, whistling through your teeth or giving the teacher "the raspberry" is not conducive to learning. When you wish to express yourself relative to the class discussion quietly raise your hand and wait to be called on. The classroom is not a comedy nightclub nor is it the monkey house at the zoo. Keep your "lip zipped" and you'll do just fine. Three. Pursuant to Key Two, neither is the classroom a gymnasium. Whether you're in junior high or in law or medical school, physical horseplay, from wrestling other students to the floor to shooting spitballs to tossing around school materials, is the height of inappropriate behavior. Reserve these antics for your physical education period. And remember: the shower following your phys ed period is more than a simple "wetting down" of your body followed by a quick and dirty toweling-off. It involves soap and water, vigorously applied. Four. Pay attention in class. Daydreaming, doodling, inspecting your fingernails, combing and teasing your hair can all be done at home. You never know when the information you're ignoring might end up being a life and death matter. For example: Say you're in your criminal law class, and as the instructor speaks you're drawing "funny" pictures in the margin of your textbook, or are planning your social activities for that evening. Ten years later, you're in court defending a person charged with a capital crime. You miss a crucial point during the proceedings that your instructor had been specifically discussing in your class while you were doodling and daydreaming, and your client ends up going to the electric chair. How would you feel then? Five. School property is not to be stolen, mutilated, carved on, eaten over, spilled on with soft drinks or fruit juices, dripped on with popsicles, written on, kicked, or have various other vandalisms committed on it. Detention awaits those who find it necessary to flout these rules. These are the "Keys to A Quality Education." I have written these keys down for your convenience, and they will be passed to you now, along with a few other items of interest. Will the person on the aisle please take these hand-outs and pass it to his or her neighbor and so on and so forth until all of you have your own copy. That's fine. Don't...crumple it up like that, just fold it neatly and put it in your notebooks. That's fine. I'll just wait for you to settle down before I continue. To conclude these remarks, I'd like to acknowledge that it isn't always easy being a student. I do remember my own student days, back in the days of the Flintstones [chuckles, to silence in the auditorium]. I, like you, enjoyed relating to my little friends and having a good time and even roughhousing now and again, in properly authorized areas, of course. Believe it or not, even I enjoyed listening to music, by people like Tommy James and the Shondells, the Outsiders, the Buckinghams, the Royal Guardsmen and Jay and the Techniques. [Warbling and snapping fingers]: "Apple, peaches, pumpkin pie/You were young and so was I"..."Here she comes now, singing Mony, Mony"..."And then I saw her face doot doot doot doot/Now I'm a believer/Not a trace doot doot doot doot of doubt in my mind..." [mounting laughter in the auditorium]. Well, I hope you'll forgive my little mini-concert there. I realize I'm no Guns Are Roses or Metaldeath, but I think you get the idea of the fine music we had back then. Unlike you, however, we didn't have compact disc players, and we didn't have computers. [Reminiscing] All computations were done manually. We had to add the numbers, carry the three, carry the five, add the numbers under the bar and the job was done. That was math. And long division? That could be thorny. We had to write the number, draw the short bar next to it and then the long bar at a right angle, write the number inside, and start dividing. Oh, mercy, mercy me [the assembly is getting restless]. And then we had to go on to geometry. I had to have my friend Howard help me in class. Isosceles triangles? Please. What did I know from isosceles triangles and hexagons? Triangles and hexagons were no days at the beach, I can tell you Ñ All right, who threw that? Whoever threw that just march right up here with a mop and a bucket of Spic 'n' Span and clean this up before it starts oozing. You can start settling down in front too! This isn't a discotheque! This assembly is dismissed. You may return to your classrooms ... single file, please![side bar]WHAT YOU SHOULD BRING TO SCHOOLLooseleaf binder with lined notebook paperNotebook ring reinforcementsSpiralbound notebooks with cardboard separators for each subject6 No. 2 pencils with full erasers Ñ- no eraser nubs, please6 Pens Ñ- both medium and fine pointVinyl pen case with working zipperPocket protector to prevent shirt and blouse ink stainsCompass and protractorManilla folders with removable tabs for subject indication flexibilityMini-stapler and box of extra staplesStaple remover (this is not a toy)Pencil sharpener with self-enclosed pencil shavings container12-inch wood or plastic rulerCombination lock, with the combination written and stored in a safe place, such as your wallet or billfoldClean, neat shirts and blouses, preferably of single colorCotton/polyester blend skirts and trousers for no-wrinkle neatnessSensible shoesA good attitude and an eagerness to learnWHAT YOU SHOULD LEAVE AT HOMEAM-FM stereo radio/cassette player, particularly those with heavy bass capacityMiniature 1" TV setPagerZip gunsStilleto-style knivesButane lightersAerosol cansConvertible compact disc playerElectronic calculatorBlue denim trousers and jacketsStuds on said blue denim trousers and jacketsT-shirts espousing unwholesome sentiments Earrings larger than 6" in diameterUnauthorized snacks such as bar-b-que potato chips or pretzel sticks, twists or rodsYour willingness to share your locker combination with othersSmart aleck remarks and a wiesenheimer attitude