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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2014

High School Uniforms
By Patricia Lavelle

 

Patricia Lavelle“You can wear that outfit to school?” I remember being amazed, as other children on my street arrived home from school in jeans and sneakers. For most of my educational career, I woke up each morning; rolled out of bed and into a pleated plaid skirt, knee socks and a collared shirt and headed out the door to school. As a student in a parochial elementary school in Brooklyn, and later an all-girls Catholic high school, wearing a uniform was a tradition that I took part in everyday, without even realizing it at the time.

Traditions like my uniform created the sense of community that defined my education. I might not have had the largest selection of Advanced Placement (AP) classes or the best technology, but I would not trade my experiences as part of a community with the desire to help others, for anything. I can’t remember a time in my high school years when my school wasn’t involved in some community service or philanthropic effort.

Each year at Open House, the one Sunday a year I was happy to wear my uniform, a slide show with pictures of events that went on—from basketball games to the drama club production—played to the theme song of the television show, Cheers. My high school was truly a place where everyone knew your name. With a graduating class of only 144 girls, each and every one of us represented our school. The faculty and staff worked hard to make sure that we represented them well. Although I no longer wear my school uniform, I will forever wear my experiences there like a handprint on my heart.#

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