The Catholic girls’ school didn’t look like much. Sgt. Mom explains her choice for her daughter, who grew up to be Cpl. Blondie.
The school she would have gone to is around the corner from my house in deepest Northside suburbia; a large, lavishly new facility, air conditioned, a generous library with all the goodies, football team and band, well-paid, accredited teachers in large modern classrooms. The student body would have been mixed, but mostly middle class. St. Francis was old and small in comparison— barely 250 girls at peak– the library a joke and the textbooks worn and verging perilously on the out of date. The parent’s association’s main goal the years Blondie was there was to get window AC units installed in all the classrooms. The gymnasium remained as nature intended, and Twinkie the school’s antiquated bus almost never made it further than the end of the driveway before breaking down. The parents of many of her friends were working-class Hispanics, making sacrifices to ensure the best education they could for their daughters. Placed in the balance and tipping it well in favor was that the classes were small, the teachers exacting and the standards rigorous.
Students were expected to learn; there were no excuses for failure. They learned.