On Saturday, I attended the council's University of Scouting training day at Cullman High School (a small city about half way between Birmingham and Huntsville). The alarm went off at 5:45am...far earlier than I've awoken in months. I wasn't certain if I was going to get the preferred classes I signed up for in pre-registration and wanted to get there early if I needed to alter my schedule. Registration started at 7:30am and the opening ceremony was to begin at 8:45am, so I was aiming to get there around 8am. I was ready to leave the house early and the trip was shorter than anticipated, so I had a lot of time to kill between grabbing my schedule and when things started kicking into gear. I sat in the high school's auditorium killing time and trying not to fall asleep. When one of the scouts from my troop showed up, he verified that I looked dead tired.
I spent much of the day distracted by the school. The high school consists of several buildings grouped together with covered walkways connecting them. I've never been to a school where each building was essentially a hallway of classes and exterior covered sidewalks connected each of these hallway clusters.* It was a very rainy day, so some of my enthusiasm of attending a school of this sort was tempered by how wet I got below the knees from the blowing rain.
The cost of high school text books was another thing highlighted. Every class had the text book required for the class in the desk. No personal copies for these students. Considering the size of the text books, they certainly looked like they would compete with some of my college books on cost. I was already expecting to see whiteboards instead of blackboards, but was intrigued that every room had a SMARTboard. I just wish I could have seen them at work for any other purpose than a screen for the projected computer images.
When not daydreaming about what it would be like as a student at Cullman High, I was on the lookout for a high school friend of mine's twin boys. Liz and I were really good friends in high school and she has obviously regaled her twin sons with stories of our/my quirks and hi-jinx. Each time they spotted me, they'd touch my nose and say "Nose!" (something I did in high school), grunt "quark" (something Liz and I did during physics class), and call me "Honey" (which was how Liz usually addressed me and, to much laughter, accidentally my dad). I tried to warn the boys I had a cold and a runny nose, but they didn't pay that any mind. So...I hope they aren't sick this week. :)
The following may only be of interest to chris21718
, who shares my enjoyment of exploring back roads. ;)
The trip was also nice in that I took a route I haven't taken in years. Twenty some-odd years ago, when traveling from Huntsville to B'ham, my family would take Hwy 231 south out of Huntsville, across the Tennessee River, and head west on state hwy 36...but instead of taking it to I-65 in Hartselle, we turned SW at Cotaco (essentially an intersection with a few abandoned businesses and a couple of gas stations) from 36 to take "Eva Road" that ran past Brewer HS, through Eva, and we'd take that to Cullman, where we would turn west onto hwy 157 to join up with I-65. My dad said it saved a few minutes when he timed it in the 80's. Now that we have I-565 joining Huntsville to I-65, a lot of people don't take 36 anymore and I certainly haven't had a reason to take Eva Road even when taking 36. On Saturday, I took that route and learned something particularly cool considering my circumstances. The north end of Eva Road is at 36 in Cotaco. The south end of the road comes to a halt in Cullman...right in front of Cullman High School. I had never ventured further south than state hwy 157 on Eva Road, so it was neat to see that just a couple of curves later on the road, I was delivered to my destination.
* The first comment you'll typically hear from folks that attended my high school alma mater is how Grissom doesn't have windows. Students navigate via an interior hallway that encircles the school office/AV Room downstairs and the library upstairs. Branching from that central circle are "pods" where the hallway goes to the middle of each octagonal pod with class rooms making up slices of each octagon pie-like pod. To see the weather, you had to go out of the building for a portable classroom or head to the south wing of the school where there was a large glass-fronted hallway between the classroom area and the gym, lunchroom, and music wing.