Student bids adieu to the school he has known for almost two decades
Max Blaska, Clarion staff
May 8, 2012
Filed under Opinions
Here it comes, that time of the year. The time of final exams, a time of reflection, and a time of farewells. It is now my time to bid adieu to the school that gave me so much. What a long and winding road it has been.
When I first beckoned these halls, Bill Clinton was in his first term as president, Gangster’s Paradise by Coolio was the number one song, the original Toy Story was in the theatres, and I was a Republican. And High school seniors who will start taking classes at Madison College this fall were one year old. I feel ancient.
I started out as a TV reporter. My first article came out October 10, 1995. I reviewed five Sci-fi shows that lasted less than the time it takes to earn an associate’s degree. “Strange Days,” “Deadly Games” anyone?
I did what most early students did for three years I bounced from program to program to program then dropping out in 1998, the year of the Monica Lewinski.
I worked for the State Assembly as a page, getting my first taste of politics and not liking it. Doing food runs for State Assembly members such as the speaker at the time, Republican Scott Jensen, who later resigned in disgrace due to an ethics scandal that affected both Democrats and Republicans.
I came back in 2000 and found the travel program and started writing for The Clarion as a man on the halls interviewer. That was fun learning what the student body thought about TV, movies, politics and music. I also had the worst typo in my career here at Madison College on Nov. 1, 2001. The subject was the most annoying song ever made. It was supposed to be “Pass the Dutchie” but my spell-correct changed it to Pass the Douche. Remember spell check can be your enemy.
I remember one day going to school, just like another day. I had a Selling Principles class in the McAllen building. It was unusually quiet but I heard something coming from the classroom. I asked, “What’s up” and like in a horror movie they all pointed their hands at once to the TV and I saw the second tower come down on 9/11. I knew things were never going to be the same I just didn’t know how much.
Whenever students weren’t in class they were either in the lounge or the Cafeteria watching TV. And on Nov. 12, another plane went down in Queens and we all thought it was another terrorist attack. Who would of thought hearing that a plane went down to mechanical failure would be a relief.
Those attacks lead to a war in Afghanistan that fall and then Iraq that had nothing to do with 9/11. On Oct. 1, 2002, I said this about the lead up to the Iraq war: “If we do it ourselves, we will be embroiled in another Vietnam scenario.”
I graduated with an Associate’s Degree in travel, one of the proudest days of my life. I thought I would never be back at MATC, it will never be Madison College and it will always be MATC to me.
The President’s reckless war and economic policies, the petty leak of a CIA agent, the massive corruption scandal that brought down Tom Delay and the surprise rise of the Religious Right infiltrating and taking over the Republican Party like a nasty computer virus caused this young Republican to leave the party.
I didn’t get a job in my field and after five years looking, I found God, and found my calling. I came back in 2009 to get as many transfer credits that I could transfer to UW and get a degree in Psychology so I can help teens fight anxious thoughts using drama.
I tried to write as Max the Militant Moderate but I realized I wasn’t a moderate anymore. The polarizing atmosphere of the 2008 election and the hatred from the right, the way that deregulation caused a major financial crisis. I was now a liberal.
I came back in the summer of 2009 and in that fall started writing with a vengeance. Covering the modern Tea Party GOP is like pealing back an onion, there are many layers and you start to cry.
So it comes to this, my last article for the Clarion. I will miss it and I will miss MATC. It will always have a special place in my heart
I am blessed to have not had a single bad teacher. But I can’t list all so this is a small representative. Roger Herian, the former head of the drama department, a teacher who taught me to dream big. I also remember going to New York with him and the Drama Club. Peter Wilmarth one of my teachers in the travel program. He was always supportive and answered my questions even if he didn’t know where they were going at first.
The late great Peter Vlisides who always had a reassuring word will be missed. Brenda Thomas, the teacher that sometimes made me feel guilty for being a white Protestant man, but she always made me think.
To Señor Curtis and Señora Fritz – dos profesores muy simpaticos, “Nunca los olvidara.” And from this man who hates math, Bethany Sansing Helton, who taught me I could be good at math and George Alexander who taught me that math can be interesting as well.
Now it is time to say goodbye. Next year I will be at Edgewood. But I will never forget what I learned here. Farewell.