Walking around the new Cambridge High School last week for its open house was a blast from the past for me.
I had been in the school several times while it was under construction, but this was my first time seeing it as it should be seen – full of excited students.
It brought back memories of my own first days of high school (and I had several schools – I moved around a lot as a kid). The excitement of seeing old friends, the sense of exploration as you scout out your classrooms, meet teachers, walk the hallways and discover rooms you wouldn’t have time to once school started.
Cambridge is a lot bigger than many of my high schools, so it was more like a maze. For those who have not seen it, it’s colossal. I’m sure it’s the size of some small universities, and just as well equipped. Dr. Ed Spurka, the principal, has done an amazing job of getting everything together for the new school, and having it done on time. Marshaling cats is easier than getting a school built and working on time.
There was an actual sense of excitement in Cambridge for the open house. The students had it, to be sure. You could easily tell that by the squeals and grins and laughter and running that went on. But I think even their parents and younger siblings were caught up in it a little bit.
This was something new, not only new to them, but new to everyone. The desks will have their first occupants, the library books their first readers, the parking lot its first accident.
That doesn’t happen every day. The incoming students would be the inaugural class for the Bears, with the responsibility of creating the school’s traditions. It starts with them. I’m not sure many of these teenagers understand what an honor that will be, and what a difficult responsibility.
It will be interesting to see what the classes of 2013-16 come up with. Will they sputter and fall with a couple half-started, poorly thought out events? Or will they rise to the occasion and make the best of this unique opportunity, creating traditions and a community that Cambridge Bears will carry on for decades?
I think they will seize the opportunity to carve their own niche and have Cambridge rank in the same caliber institution as its sister schools.