School Daze Grade 9 by Ken David Stewart
From grade one to grade eight I attended Nordale School. I enjoyed grade eight except for one issue. I hated shops or as it is known now, industrial arts. I was not born for building things or fixing things. To this day there are still things that I cannot repair. I just found out that I have a condition called dyspraxia. Anyone who is unfortunate enough to have this condition will eventually find themselves totally frustrated when they need to assemble anything or do any repairs.
When I attended shops class every Friday afternoon, I lived through a type of hell on earth. Every other boy in the class appeared to be able to put together a dado joint with ease. Everyone except for me that is. I struggled and struggled with the projects to which I was assigned in woodworking class. I couldn’t make a proper dado joint if my life depended upon it. My shops teacher, Mr. Larson, was of no help whatsoever. He had absolutely no sympathy for any student who had difficulties with their projects. This teacher didn’t think that it was his job to assist students who struggled with their assignments. The only way I passed this course was to have some of my fellow students finish my projects for me. Even still, I just passed wood working class by the skin of my teeth.
My future with shops class didn’t appear any brighter for the upcoming year. My industrial arts teacher for grade nine metals would be Mr. Miller. He struck me as being even meaner and less helpful than Mr. Larson, if that was possible. The very thought of taking metals class with Mr. Miller made me sick to my stomach.
Thank God, Miss Winters, our principal, came to my grade eight class to make an important announcement. Our principal told the class that there was a way to be exempt from taking metals class with Mr. Miller in grade nine. This was the offer. If a student could maintain an average of 85% or higher until the end of the school year they would have the opportunity to take Latin class at Queen Elizabeth School next fall. The only drawback was that Queen Elizabeth School was a long walk from where I lived. It would be at least a forty-five minute walk one way to school every day. This could be a real hardship in the winter months.
For me, this was a small price to pay for avoiding another painful year of humiliation in shop’s class. Fortunately, I had very good grades in every class except industrial arts.
I managed to get a few of my friends to agree to go with me to Queen Elizabeth school next year.
My friends and I’d heard some rumours that there were some very tough kids who attended QE, the abbreviation for the school. We all decided that we would take the risk anyway.
When we arrived a few QE the next September we were placed in room nineteen, otherwise known as the Latin room. We quickly learned that our class room was considered by the other kids to be the room for the sucky students. In other words, the kids that were good in school and actually listened to their teachers.