Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Inside Out - Leo High School and a Little Flower Learning Moment Killed by PC

 chicagolittleflowerbball1967dav.jpg
Little Flower Lancers: 1966-67  15 - 11   Palos Hills District Champions     
                             Thanksgiving Tourney Champions                             District Scores                                Semi-final Beat Stagg 85-42                             Title Game Beat St. Francis de Sales 69-66                             Oak Lawn Regional Tournament                                        
I am here at Leo High School every morning with the chirping of the birds, sometime between 4 AM and 5AM,depending on my duties to attend, or my level of laziness. This is a good time to get some work done and to write down ideas for development that might benefit this great old school.

In the winter months, I go directly to the boiler room and start up the furnaces.  It does not take long to heat up this well-constructed ninety year old gem and in the summer months my windowless inner cubicle gets hotter than the hinges of Hell.

Please, remember that I am talking about the building, a four story 32,000 square foot pile of concrete, ree-bar, wood, conduit, pipes, carpet and furniture.  It is not a school until at least one scholar arrives to learn and another to teach. Only then, does the place I drive to each morning become a school.
A school is a gathering of scholars usually disciples and a master, or masters.  From the Middle Ages all the way to the day John Dewey destroyed the notion of shared truth, students were called discipuli and the teacher magister. Latin was the langiuage of scholarly discourse.

In my lifetime, I witnessed the euthanizing of Latin and the Death of God by academics and churchmen.  Latin was deemed irrelevant, the vernacular ascended to Parnassus and the Vatican dome.  That is too bad.  The mystery of learning has gone the way of sacred liturgy -no mystery and no beauty.  Education means punching one's ticket for entry to something else.

Good teaching only comes from good scholars.  These days, paper means scholarship. Teacher certification is the stamp on the back of one's hand to the very special velvet roped section of Club Career marked education.

A good teacher has some capacity to articulate the facts, opinions, concepts and skills mastered over number of years in schools, or other occupations.  Two men who would recoil, if one called them scholars gave me a special learning moment. A young self-absorbed priest more concerned with social justice and artificial peace killed that moment.

I was in eighth grade when Little Flower High School Basketball was making a name for itself.  Parish founder and beating heart Monsignor McMahon was placed on Emeritus status and replaced by a nice guy, who allowed John Cardinal ( Louisiana Fats) Cody to systematically destroy the parish which featured a magnificent campus comprising the church, rectory, a fruit orchard grammar school and high school.  The grammar school was free to parishioners and high school almost free ( my 1969-70 tuition was $ 80).  We had many good teachers who volunteered their time, or received an almost invisible stipend for services - some were not even Illinois State Certified.

In my eighth grade year, we went to the community center in the high school - a state of the art gymnasium - to watch the Lancers on the hardwood.  These were athletic and graceful young men who had been coached by Tom Spatz (Leo '58) and Jim Dolan ( Leo '54).  They were magnificent human beings and they worked long and hard hours with us.

We (8th graders) were spazes. Uncoordinated bones and skin attached to undisciplined brain pans.

These two men, the  best PE teachers I ever had in all of my years of schooling,  made all of the boys in our class learn close order drill. Veterans Jim Dolan and Tom Spatz attempted to de-spaz thirty or more eleven year olds, by combining commands and movements: "Step with your left foot, Hickey! Your other LEFT!  Jesus Christ, did you have polio when you were younger, or are you deaf?"

We were awkward (spazmodic), graceless, distracted and chaotic, as all boys are, until we learned to keep pace, time and balance on command.

One the assistant priests, at Little Flower, a social engineer of the Msgr. Reynold Hillenbrand stamp complained that Spatz and Dolan were turning us precious little boys into goosestepping storm troopers and the weak pastor bowed to political correctness.  Close order drill no more, Mr. Dolan de-volunteered and Mr. Spatz stuck to basketball.

We went back to spaz. In four years, Cardinal Cody sold the filled to capacity and debt free Little Flower High School and Community Center to the Chicago Board of Education.  The parish closed in 1993.

Father Cupcake saved us from the goosestep and Msgr, Go-Along made nice with Louisiana Fats.

Thus, a school activity that was deemed irrelevant by a person not engaged in the activity, whatsoever, was legislated out of existence The rise of the pest, the pain-the-ass in the vernacular, had dawned.

Good teaching has nothing to do with State Certification, Inquiry, or political correctness.

Just saying.


2 comments:

Patricia said...

I love this Pat. Not a well known thing throughout the Parish I suspect..glad someone finally said something

Tony Panatera said...

Great article, thanks for writing. Makes my stomach hurt.