Jack Lalley: From the chalkboard

November 7, 2008 

JACK LALLEY

The teachable moment came into our classroom a couple of months ago when outta left field, a kid piped up, "Whadda 'bout Freedom?"

You see, we had been discussing possible names for our new high school. And had just run through the merits of our pantheon of presidents: Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Kennedy, and Reagan; followed by a panoply of historic icons: Martin Luther King Jr, Cesar Chavez, Harriet Tubman, Patrick Henry, Bill Gates. We even discussed the pros and cons of naming our new high school after sports heroes and movie stars. To tell the truth, our make-shift civics lesson was frankly running outta gas - when the moment came again, "What about freedom?"

The first instance brought a few snickers, perhaps because it was uttered under an unsure breath, but the second time the suggestion was offered, there was a hightened inflection of conviction. Classroom heads turned, eyes sparked at the possibility of the idea. Classroom consensus, a cacophony of "Freedom High" resounded, and our quest began.

The first thing we did was to make ourselves known to our seven members of the Los Baños Board of Trustees, because its these seven dedicated folk that will make the ultimate choice. Several of us showed up at Augusts's board meeting, sang our hearts out and spoke about the merits of Freedom High. Then we wrote letters to the committee appointed to assist in the selection process. Next, we wrote letters, then made personal phone calls to all seven board members outlining all the reasons why Freedom High was the best possible choice for our new high school.

Last Saturday, Jesus Pulido, Kirin Frye, Brenda Leal and Bianca Gomez gave up their Saturday morning cartoons and braved the impeading rain to hold a mock election in front of Target and Wal Mart. The results are totally unscientific, but nonetheless interesting. Two hundred forty-eight people took part in the survey. 136 chose Freedom High, 68 chose Pacheco High and 44 chose Veterans Memorial High.

This weekend we'll be back at it. Expanding our survey to K-mart, Lowe's, Home Depot, and perhaps knocking on your front door.

I tell my students that whatever they want they must work hard for. The harder they work, the better the chances, because when we stand together, we stand united.

When the board meets on the 13th and ponders a decision, we'll be there fighting for freedom, riding on the wind of liberty, holding fast to the wings of America's Bald Eagle, our chosen mascot, lifting each and every one of us upward and onto victory.

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