Jared W. Finney High School was demolished in 2011. It was a little strange driving down the road and not seeing the beige brick building that was such a significant part of our lives. Finney was where my parents met and fell in love. It was home to the funniest, rowdiest crew of teachers ever known. It cared for thousands of students who struggled and laughed and focused and loved and cursed and sometimes shot guns in my mom’s classroom..
…what was I saying?
Oh yeah, so Finney was part of my life from an early age. Some of the highlights include:
- My parents have pictures of me as a baby in my stroller smiling and holding a sign that says, “We Demand Equity.”
- When I was three, my mom brought me to school. She let me sit on a stool in the classroom while she taught class, and the kids asked if I could write my name on the chalkboard. I proudly walked up to the board, grabbed the chalk, and wrote P-O-O-P. My mother promptly sent me to the faculty lounge for the rest of the day.
- It was either 5th or 6th grade when the first gang shooting happened. My parents tried to play it cool, laughing it off…which is pretty crazy in retrospect because there was an f-ing SHOOTING in the halls of their school…outside their classroom doors.
- Then there was the day a kid brought a gun in his book bag and the safety wasn’t on. The damn thing went off in the middle of Mom’s room while she was teaching. She joked about it. Nothing like a lighthearted chuckle when guns are shot several feet from you.
The Finney Teacher’s Crew was like having a dozen additional aunts and uncles, who made life colorful and exciting. They and their spouses would convene at each other’s houses for dinner parties, laughing, telling jokes, and teasing each other mercilessly. We, the offspring, would carouse together late into the night while the adults talked and talked.
I remember looking at my teachers in high school and wondering if they were the same as the Finney Crew, if they all got together to drink and dine, laugh and cry with one another, and consider themselves one crazy extended family.