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Joy and Sadness:  

A Look Back at the 1999-2000

Metro High School Year






by Judith Chabot, French Teacher



This has been quite a year.  We all  had hoped to be able to list Cynthia’s return in September as the happiest event of the year, but, that, of course, was only short-lived.  Nonetheless, our having had her here at all, even for those short months, I think gave us a valuable perspective on where our personal and professional lives should head.  As Victor Hugo might have said, we can only hope to achieve personal fulfillment when we are mindful of the great positive effect we can have on those who count on us. 


We speak of being a family at Metro.  And we strive for that.  In the best of families, caring support and a sense of humor carry us through the most difficult times.  Though many of the students may not have known it, many of the adults in their Metro life were dealing with very difficult situations in their personal lives this year.  Some of us had family members who suffered traumatic illnesses, or were confronted with our own health problems.  Indeed, several of us lost cherished family members.  When I think of what must have kept us going, I think of the smiling faces of several of my students, and of their beautiful, never-ending sense of humor.  That is what makes us family.


But, there were also so many enjoyable and memorable and remarkable events this year!  We had the incredible luck to have gorgeous weather again for Pam’s now traditional Meet-and-Greet Barbecue.  Early in the Fall, all of those of us who had worked with Betty Wheeler, joined Pam for a jazzy, tasty, poignant celebration of those years.  Even Heloise Mayer, John Jackson and Bill Karduck joined us for the evening, and we presented Betty with a gold and diamond pin in the shape of the Metro symbol of united hands.


Cynthia’s plans for Homecoming were carried out by her colleagues and devoted students, and the result was a resounding success, with students showing us that they not only read the articles in those fashion magazines they try to flip through during class, they get a good sense of what is the latest and the best of the designer duds. Tom has pictures to prove it!


Oh, and there was a truly elegant event in April:  the class of 2000 held their prom at the Chase (the first one for the newly-renovated Starlight Roof ), up on the very top floor.  Again, we had a gorgeous evening, and the students were able to take advantage of the wonderful outdoor terrace while they contemplated where to head for the rest of the evening’s adventures.  All I know is that there were hotel-room keys being passed around, and several of the departing revelers ended up stuck in the elevator as they tried to go down to the lobby at the end of the night (you know that rinnnnng rinnnnngggg that you hear coming from an elevator when someone is playing around with the elevator buttons? The rinnnnggg rinnnngggg that you  ignore like the never-ending car alarm sirens you hear if you live in the city? Well......  I’ll never ignore them again! And I’ll never forget the view of Hannah Montford, from the safety of the lobby-side of the elevator, trying to pry open the elevator doors to rescue her classmates.)  A memorable event, I’m sure. But they all made it back to school after that long weekend.


In April and May there were three great “spectacles”, as we say in French, that brought parents and students and community members back to Metro in the evening.  Our first Career Night was very-well attended.  The big Trivia Night blast was quite a success-- you know your trivia was truly trivial when the contestants moan and complain for days afterward about how on earth they could have been expected to know how many pounds of tomatoes the average American consumes in a year.  And what, after all, were Zeus’ parents’ names?? Our response to those students and faculty members was, “But, it was a T-R-I-V-I-A contest!”  And, as if that weren’t enough to end our year on, Mr. Strasser and his son and daughter, John and Laura, guided a fabulous cast of Metroites in 2 truly outstanding performances of the play, “Clue”.  How lucky we are to have such enthusiasm and talent in our midst!


But, throughout the year, teachers and students performed and competed, and won prizes and high honors.  Metro students performed with visiting dance troupes. Jayme Barnard led his students through more performances than I can name here, and was also responsible for bringing professional musicians to perform at Metro during the day, at night, and in music clinics.  His energy is such an inspiration!  Ami Christianson once again found innumerable contests for her art students to compete in, and, as usual, they simply shined. Karen Rehkemper inducted  new members into our chapter of the National Honor Society.  Peggy Lathrop won an award through the Loeb Foundation,  and numerous deserving juniors and seniors were honored with book awards from such prestigious institutions as Smith, Wellesley, Yale, Harvard, and  Princeton.  Two Metroites, Chris Robinson and Sara Miller, were Division Winners at the annual Science Fair.  Again, Metro placed first in the St. Louis Post Dispatch rankings of test scores for over 500 public and private high schools in the state of Missouri-- what an unbelievable achievement!  Again, we had more bright-flight scholars and National Merit and National Achievement scholars than any school of our size.


Robbye Covington’s Win With Wellness team planted a tree near the main entrance to the school in memory of Cynthia Beasley Morrow.  They were also responsible for arranging a valuable and thought-provoking presentation by Donald Young, a throat cancer survivor.  His presentation, called, “A Smoker’s Story,” was about his addiction to cigarettes and the battle with cancer that resulted from his addiction.  We also had an important all-Metro session on HIV and AIDS, and our Metro students impressed us with their maturity in handling this sensitive topic, as well as with their enlightened and educated questions. 


We had other all-Metro events this year: Amnesty International worked tirelessly all year, and brought to us an inspiring speaker who had lived through the horror of detainment during Chile’s years of dictatorship.  On the lighter side, we had a speaker come to tell us about traveling using Youth Hostels, and now several of our graduating Metroites are embarking on a grand (budget) tour of Europe, joining this year’s student abroad, Angela Raines, and we have another student, Matt Crawford, who has been accepted by Rotary Clubs International to spend next year in France, as well. We enjoyed two all-Metro congratulatory field trips, and none of us will ever forget the they-must-be-from-Metro sight of students, at the close of one of those Galleria lunch events,  running with abundant glee up to a huge dumpster overloaded with leftovers from this year’s Book Fair, yelling, “Boooooooooooooooooooooks!!!!!!!”


Rich Nolte was understandably proud of the success of a new course in the Science department: “Anatomy and Physiology.”  So many students signed up for it that they had to create a second section of the course. The classes were able to utilize brand new textbooks and modern Physiology equipment; partnerships with the schools of medicine of both Washington University and the University of Missouri (Columbia) were maintained; and a new partnership with the St. Louis Metropolitan Medical Society was established through a series of four field trips (and Mr. Nolte cited the cooperation of those staff members who kept this latter partnership going while he was out on funeral leave.) 


Additionally, Mr. Nolte pointed out how important maintaining staff is in achieving continuity of instruction, a factor which he sees as necessary to provide the best learning possible for our students, and to develop in the student body a sense of pride and belonging.  The Science department joined the Foreign Language department in yet another year without turnover in the staff of its department.  Thanks to all of you, of us, who have continued the tradition of high expectations, hard (hard,hard) work, and a sense of caring and community.  From Jackie Hudson, Marve, Gloria, and Roshonda Neal, to  Lionel and Barbara, and Geneva and her staff,  to Mark, Clyde and Denise, Mildred and Julia --  they join all of us continuing  Metro faculty members to work at providing a great atmosphere of unity, pride, and success, as we strive to bring to life the words we read in Metro’s mission statement every year.


And speaking of faculty and staff, all of us are grateful to Melinda Nadler, Jackie Person-McKinney, and  Katie Chole for stepping in so graciously and professionally to fill in the gaps left by the unexpected loss of veteran Metro faculty.  Oliver Patterson and Eric Toner  provided smooth transitions as new members of the Metro faculty, and Tony Phillips has been such a positive light in our technical world here this year!  Robbye Covington and Georgia Schoeffel each took on additional duties and responsibilities this year, and we welcomed Carmen Baker as a life-saving addition in the office. Rose, how have you done it all by yourself all of these years?


I’m sure each of you reading this can think of your own ideas of successes we had at Metro this year.  Perhaps you or your son or daughter were members of one of our  hard-working, high-achieving sports teams.  Or, perhaps you or your son or daughter were responsible for starting a new club or a new program, or for spear-heading a campaign to raise money for those less fortunate than us, in our own country, or in oppressed foreign countries.  Perhaps you or your son or daughter have simply-- finally!-- made it (successfully!) through another year of the sweat and joy of accomplishment at Metro.  Or perhaps you or your son or daughter are looking forward with pride to this year’s graduation. 


It’s been quite a year.  And, do you know what my students told me was the highlight of their year? The biggest, best, most exciting time for them? The most enjoyable, most anticipated, most relished moment? The weekend after Science Projects were handed in, of course!


See you next year.