|Lady GaGa–via Wikipedia|
Last week as I walked Bogey through Riverside Park, I saw a large and rather raucous group of teens just past the playground in the 80s. I stopped to look a little further and noticed a photographer giving direction. It was obviously a class photograph, and it was the perfect early fall day to capture it.
This moment took me back to 1984, my senior year at the now defunct Central Catholic High School in Reading, PA. I remember my senior photo, also taken outdoors, with my class of just over 100 students. It also took me back to our gym classes in City Park, which was just across the street from the high school. I dreaded those classes. I hated gym because as a ballet dancer, I was never one of the athletic girls. I think I was the only student in the history of CCHS who got a C in gym. I showed up, I tried, so how was this possible?
As I stood in the park, I couldn’t help but think about the possibility of graduating from a high school in NYC in the 1980s and posing for a class photo in Central Park, Riverside, or any other New York City park. I couldn’t help but think back, when at the young age of 15, I decided that I was moving to New York as soon as possible. I thought that at age 16, I could live unsupervised in Manhattan (with a roommate of course), finish school, continue my dance studies, audition, and eventually land a job dancing professionally. Even now, I believe that I could’ve done it.
I thought about how different my life would’ve been at that time, and would be today had I followed that course. Would I have followed my plan and pursued my dream of becoming a professional dancer? Could I have attended college here? Would I have stayed in New York? Should I have ignored my parents and attempted to move anyway?
Watching this young high school class took me back thirty years. How lucky these teens are to be in NYC at this time in their lives — a time of growth and discovery. They may not get it now, but one day they will.
Famous New Yorkers and their high schools include:
Manhattan Friends Seminary
LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts, Manhattan
The Professional Performing Arts School, Manhattan
The Calhoun School, Manhattan
Jean Michel Basquiat
Edward R. Murrows High School, Queens
Convent of the Sacred Heart, Manhattan
|Liza Minnelli –via Wikipedia|