BEN'S ACADEMIC BACKGROUND

Let's see, I guess the easiest way to do this is by listing all the schools I've been to as far back as I can remember. If my folks ever sees this maybe they'll drop me a line and remind me of those I've left off.

Orange County Day School: Orange County, New York
I think this is where it all began. In Newburgh, New York. The big memories include playing with Bristle Blocks (kind of like Legos but they stuck together via long skinny bristles. Hence the name.). They came in mostly rectangular shapes and we could make cool guns out of them. These were the only guns I've ever played with. The other thing I recall is leaving some vinyl records I had brought in on the windowsill, where they had melted by the next day (possibly because they were above the radiator?).

Temple Hill Elementary School: New Windsor, New York
I don't remember much about this school either. If you care to find it on a state map of New York, I don't think it's terribly far from the Washington Contonement, which is a national landmark. What I do recall involves a teacher with the unfortunate name of Mrs. Belcher and the fact that the school curriculum was bilingual so we spent half the day learning various subjects in English and half the day learning Spanish. I was only there for second and third grades, so I didn't pick up much Spanish.

Hebrew Academy of Atlanta: Atlanta, Georgia
This place I remember. My family was part of a carpool and one of the drivers was a country music fan, so this is where I was first exposed to what I then hated and now enjoy (have I matured? Or gone senile?) It was here that I was first given detention and was therefore compelled to watch a video about panda's in Mrs. Tuvlin's science room. I went from learning Spanish to Hebrew, and either because I'm Jewish and am exposed to a fair amount of it or because I spent 3 years at the Academy as opposed to 2 at Temple Hill, my Hebew is much better than my Spanish. Which isn't saying much. While at the Hebrew Academy I was moved up a grade, from 4th to 5th. I think the biggest impact this had was that I suddenly went from being a decent goal keeper on the soccer (football for the international reader) team to being an out of breath half-back.

Merry Acres Middle School: Albany, Georgia
This is where I ended up one fateful fall after a move from the suburbs of Atlanta to the deep south of Dougherty County. My memories are not terribly cheery, but I do remember winning an award at a MathCounts tournament when I had the chicken pox and receiving a D- on an English paper for having two run on sentences. And a few other things (that I remember. There was damn little else in that paper. It's not online. I don't remember a thing about it. Honest.).

Westover High School: Albany, Georgia
Stop the pain! Okay, so this wasn't my favorite place in the world. However, there were some teachers that I'll single out. Mrs. Howard, for English. I remember watching the Stephen King film Pet Cemetery while doing a unit on horror. And Dr. and Mrs. Johnson, who coached the math team, were both great people and influenced me a lot while I was at Westover. There are probably a few other classes I enjoyed, but the teacher who had the biggest impact on me was Mrs. Black, the Latin teacher. It was because of her advice that I attended the NJCL convention in Denton, Texas and eventually became quite involved in the Georgia Junior Classical League. That, in turn, had a big impact on college applications, self-esteem, etc. (see, that's Latin right there). So, a big Multis Gratias to Edith Black.

Pope High School: Marietta, Georgia
Let the good times roll... At Pope I enjoyed myself at school for the first time in years. The teachers were great, the people were friendly, and life was good. Let's see, what was I involved in... A few clubs, a few honors societies, cross-country for a week (long enough to learn the stretches). It was here that I became quite involved in Math Team and JCL, both of which have allowed me to do some travelling across the country at the expense of others :-). I had an excellent calculus teacher (Dr. Siegle), a really special Latin teacher (Domina Hibernia, or Mrs. Ireland), and several other teachers I still go back and visit (Mrs. Lacy, who taught English, Dr. White and Mrs. Garrett, who taught me a variety of useful things, and Mrs. Morton, from the Chem department, are a few). My only regret is that Pope has lost, through various means, many of the teachers I admired and learned from. That's sappy enough, no?

Tulane University: New Orleans, Lousiana

My Alma Mater. Lots of excellent friends and lots of excellent memories. Photos of many of these folk can be found here. Although I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say that I regret what the then president, Eamon Kelly, did to academics (sacrificed them at the altar of college football), I do love the Tulane I attended. It's difficult to narrow down the memories to fit into the little bit of space I've alotted so I'll present a select few.

The story I may have told most often is when I was studying with Wesley Dorman and Amy McDonald for one of Dr. Benard's exams we pretty much pulled an all-nighter. During the exam I was kind of woozy, and woke up with a start when I found myself writing "the UNIX filesystem keeps pointers to files in a cabinet in the computer science office." This is not, as far as I know, the truth.

I have a mental image of Dr. Herrmann, a history prof, riding his bike down McAlister, picking me out of a crowd despite having only had me in one of his classes for one semester, and shouting "Merry Christmas!". He quickly recalled I was Jewish but was already down the street. So he turned around, brimmed cap on head, and corrected himself with a "Happy Holiday!".

I had many other excellent professors and met many other extraordinary members of the staff and faculty (Dean Jean Danielson of the Honors Department and Jamie Lax of Career Services spring to mind.) -- far too many to put tributes to all of them in here. Maybe on their own page?


Last modified: Wednesday, 1 April 1998