Old School

by kfrego

It’s a shame all students can’t attend a school like Lyon Mountain was before the bureaucrats forced it into centralization. It wasn’t just a school. The school contributed countless services for the community and the residents. The school staff and many of the teachers lived in the community. We knew the teachers personally and professionally. Every student knew every teacher and the grade they taught. Most of the teachers knew the majority of the students and their parents. Staff, teachers, and students often interacted with each other away from school. The school was a community within itself. The town was too small for secrets. Everything that happened in school was known throughout the community and everything that happened in Lyon Mountain was known throughout the school. It wasn’t always perfect, but everybody was part of it.

Buzz Harrica ran the school in the years I attended. He was a man who earned, and received, respect. He expected every student, including his own children, to maintain discipline in his school. He expected the teachers and staff to treat the students with respect. He also bent over backwards to provide services to the community.

The school cafeteria was used for Fireman’s Bingo one evening each week. When the mine employees had a union meeting it was in the cafeteria. The school had movies on Sunday evenings for the public at very low prices. The school buses would run to Chateaugay Lake, Standish, and Chazy Lake to provide transportation to and from the movies. If there was a home basket ball game in the evening, the buses ran their routes for the games. The town library was provided space at the school. Everybody had a bathtub at home, but few homes had showers. The school showers were available for use by everyone when there were no activities at school.

We all know high school discipline has it’s short comings. Teen age students are going to test the rules. It wasn’t uncommon for Buzz to grab a problem student by the collar of their shirt and hold them suspended against a wall while explaining the virtues of discipline. He also used language they clearly understood. I never provoked Buzz into losing his temper, but had a couple of heart to heart conversations with him in his office. He always let you sweat for a while before calling you into his office. When you were seated in front of his desk, he threw his pack of camels at you and told you to have a smoke. He would then discuss the problem with you man to man. He was straight up about what he could accept and any discipline you were getting for your infractions. He would shake your hand and send you back to class. You got his message.

The Buzz Harrica’s of today don’t have time for community and students……………it takes all their time and resources to keep the schools funded.