This ol' Blair just ain't what it used to be

Dec. 31, 1969, 7 p.m. | By Elana Eisen-Markowitz | 51 years ago

Speaking as a far wiser, far more experienced and all-around better member of this Blair community, I am appealing to those of you who are considerably less worldly than I am. It has recently come to my attention that I'm graduating in little more than a month. This is good. However, it has also come to my attention that, as great as we are now, Blair used to be so much greater. It's like Michael Jackson now, singing about butterflies and touching little boys, compared to Michael Jackson when he was a normal-colored, crotch-grabbing thriller. And this, my friends, is bad.

Now, stay with me here; I'm not suggesting that Blair should be thought of as an oddly pigmented molester, I'm just saying that for a school with so many great teachers, students and activities, 51 University Blvd East has about as much history, tradition and culture as Britney Spears. I want Blair to be interesting and memorable—even legendary—not just fun to be around and easy on the eyes. Is that so much to ask?

The fact is that the class of 2002 is the first class to go all four years at the new Blair and is therefore the only graduating class in Blair history to have never set foot on the Wayne Avenue campus. When I think about this, I mourn for my fellow seniors for so narrowly missing the end of an era.

In some ways, I feel like I haven't even been to high school yet. Ever since I first visited the old Blair when Billy B. was there in concert and I was just a seven-year-old kid eating my boogers and braiding my rat-tail, I saw high school as that perfectly aged building looming over Sligo Creek with wretched fields and tiny little bathrooms. Sure, it was old and gross and half as large as it needed to be, but it had exactly what I wanted out of high school: history, tradition and more personality than I could have asked for.

But then, parents, teachers, administrators and county officials who didn't understand the value of such an old, interesting campus decided that Blair had to move to Four Corners despite the bitter neighbors, stifling rules, heightened security and the impossibility of open lunch.

Let's give ourselves some credit, though; when Blair relocated to a larger and more pristine site, it would be a dirty lie to say that we lost all of our interesting people or all of our musical talent. My respect goes out to the kids who've kept it real—the steppers, the jazz musicians, the DJs, whomever—but every year I notice fewer and fewer kids gathering around lockers to tap out a beat or dance to the radio at lunch, and it's really just too bad. Whatever happened to the happy harmony that used to create art and music deep within the soul of Blair?

It's about time for Blair's new generation to start shaping up. Word from Blair alumni suggests that at Wayne Avenue, kids claimed every crevice of the building until graduation. The magnets had the science hall, the studio dorks had the communication corridor, the self-proclaimed "breezeway crew" had, well, the breezeway and various other groups took to dividing up the remaining hallways. Then, at multiple points in Blair history, students painted murals and decorated their section so as to feel more comfortable hanging out and letting loose. The result was an eclectic mix of culture, personality and fun.

Why can't we do the same? Why can't we convince the administration to let us paint a mural? What's stopping us from freestyling in the courtyards?

So listen here, friends, if you do nothing else by the end of your four years with our buddy Montgomery Blair, make this school your own, give it some life, give it some personality and for the sake of the computer-nerd generations to come, give Blair something to sing about.

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Elana Eisen-Markowitz. Elana Eisen-Markowitz was born in Washington, DC and lived there until her obese younger brother was born and the family was forced to move into a larger house in Takoma Park, MD. Elana then enrolled in the Spanish immersion program at Rolling Terrace Elementary School … More »

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