Once upon time in a world filled with uniforms and strict religion class regimens, I was yelled at by a nun for playing “bloody knuckles” with my friend in class. I’m not sure if it was the monotonous drone of the boring school routine or the extra five minutes of free time we were given after finishing our quiz, but the idea of playing the pointless game sounded like fun. My classmate and I were no more than a minute into the game when we were quickly scolded with a stern lecture and a look as if the devil himself was in the room by a little nun in her habit. In my modest Catholic school, we were immersed in a small society where everyone was dressed in starched white shirts, skirts to the knees, and a thousand ways to get into trouble. The following are some of the best and worst ways, in a Catholic school, to get sent right to hell -- or afternoon detention. All stories were taken from real accounts of students who survived Catholic high school.
Freshman through senior year, I remember never having to worry about putting together an outfit for the following school day because the choices were simple. Today you could wear a burgundy plaid or black skirt with a nice Quigley polo or button down, either white or burgundy. Those terrible unisex pants were unforgiving to most, and not a very likely option. Your choices are no different tomorrow, or the next day or the next day. By the way, burgundy plaid is not the new black. Caution: variations from this uniform will result in detention with the first offense.
forgiveness for leaving your flats at home. Prayers to the girl who attempted to wear warm snow boots to school to avoid freezing her toes off, only to realize her perfect dress-code approved flats were still at home. And home is directly where you were sent for that little slip-up.
Okay, girls, we all did this at one point. In an attempt to combat the harsh dictatorship that demanded skirts touch the top of the knee, you may have rolled your skirt up a few inches. Okay, amateurs, we totally took our stretchy headbands and used them as a belt to cover that scandalous, knee-baring sin because the roll of wadded up skirt waistband was just too noticeable. Rules were set in stone, and were stringently enforced by a principal who always carried a measuring tape for random uniform checks.
Another day while pushing each other around the hallway and cracking jokes, my best friend and I skidded into math class just as the bell was about to ring. She took her seat in the corner but not before jokingly announcing to the teacher that I was “bullying” her. When the class ended we were both called to her desk, where she quickly interrogated us about the “alleged” bullying. The topic was finally resolved once we were able to convince her that it was all a joke, but not before she threatened to send us to the dreaded guidance counsel’s office. Say goodbye to your free period with friends if sent to the guidance counselor’s office, due to the jail-like 5x5 cell without windows that allowed for any signs of life during your confinement.
We may have been terrible students because computer class wasn’t as easy as we thought it would be when we signed up. Praying for an easy elective, we found ourselves in Computers 101. Busting through typing drills and getting lost somewhere in the Excel spreadsheets chapter, I leaned over to my friend to ask a question. Whoops! That may have been a bad idea because a detention was promptly given. No talking in class, after all. Unfortunately, her troubles were not over. While waiting outside the room for her “unjust” detention to start, another generous teacher saw fit to write her up for standing in the hall. I bet that detention slip was “great,” a detention for going to detention.
With 12 years of catholic school comes 12 years of religion classes and countless retreats. Over and over, during those years, I learned when faced with difficult questions in your life, “Jesus is the answer.” I repeat. Jesus is the answer. Whatever you do, do not recite his name in vain especially in a Catholic school. The punishment will come down like the 10 plagues in Exodus in the form of hand writing the entire Rosary including all five decades, 53 Hail Mary’s, six Our Father’s, the Fatima Prayer and the Apostles' Creed. Also, you cannot continuously write “Jesus is the answer” for every question on a religion exam. You will need Jesus after the test is returned.
Coming from a small class of just under 30 students made it possible to plan events for the entire class easily. Although to this day many a student would deny it, we managed to pull off a senior skip day in the early spring. I mean, it is possible that every one of those 30 students fell victim to some unknown if not similar affliction, but the Pirates did win that day.
These accounts were just a handful of confessions as told by
my friends and me. We honestly loved
every minute, well almost every minute, of our Catholic school education. There were, after all, plenty of laughs and
shenanigans, and of course, we were prepared for our college experience. And those years gave us a lot of memories and
stories to share! Some of the best
stories I’ll save for another time.