Specialization is a feature of every complex organization, be it social or natural, a school system, garden, book, or mammalian body.
I’ve been very physical my whole life. I went out hiking and camping for days in the Australian forest, and when I trained at drama school for three years, we did a whole lot on stage-fighting techniques. And I was a dancer from 5 to 18, so I have a memory for choreography.
My parents couldn’t handle my energy so they enrolled me in every sport the school was offering. I didn’t resent it because I loved sports and picked them up easily.
The greatest job I ever had was working on my family farm. Each morning my father would come into my bedroom around 4:30 am and command me to get up and work the fields. I would spend the next two hours before school slopping pigs and cropping tobacco.
I got thrown out of school several weeks in my senior year being caught in the girls’ dorm. This was 1954, friends. The girls’ dorm was off limits. Even to girls, I think.
Michael Sanchez and I grew up in New Jersey, not far from here, playing soccer together. When I was in high school, I worked to start an organization to help senior citizens, which I learned a great deal from.
Acting school was summer camp, and I needed concentration camp. I had so many different ideas swirling between culture and how to tie things together.
At my public school I had hated every other face for fear the owner was a lord, at university, I was to court the rich while doubting whether there should be great inequalities between incomes.
Well, I went to school with Jan and Dean, Ryan O’Neal, some of the Beach Boys we all use to party together.
The parent knows instinctively that if they’re working and setting an example for their child that means that child is more likely to be in school, more likely to stay out of trouble and more likely to complete their education.
I had an instinctive feeling that the people who have little or no school training should have something coming into their homes weekly which dealt with their problems in a simple, helpful way… so I wrote in a plain, common-sense way on the things that concerned our people.
Even if we give parents all the information they need and we improve school meals and build brand new supermarkets on every corner, none of that matters if when families step into a restaurant, they can’t make a healthy choice.
But in any case, I did poorly on the tests and so, in the first three years of school, I had teachers who thought I was stupid and when people think you’re stupid, they have low expectations for you.
My parents were neither wealthy nor academic, but we lived comfortably and they were always extremely supportive of my academic efforts and aspirations, both at school and university.
We shot ‘High School Musical’ in eight weeks. I spent longer rehearsing for ‘Hairspray’ than filming ‘High School Musical’.
Nowadays people seem to switch schools, either because they have to, and certain schools only serve certain grades, or because they move to a different place or have some particular interest, but I was in the same school for 13 years.
We played soccer a lot with our friends and at school. We weren’t on an official team or anything, but we’d definitely be up for it in gym or in after-school pickup games where we live.
Still today, I cannot cross the threshold of a teaching institution without physical symptoms, in my chest and my stomach, of discomfort or anxiety. And yet I have never left school.
I think that the mere fact that I’m doing it ought to inspire someone. In junior high school the counselor suggested that I focus on wood shop and metal shop.
I guess whatever maturity is there may be there because I’ve been keeping a journal forever. In high school my friends would make fun of me – you’re doing your man diary again. So I was always trying to translate experience into words.
I went to night school and summer school, I made that whole year up and I actually graduated on time. Also, I got a part-time job at the radio station.
I was supposed to go to drama school and then go to New York and do theatre. But I grew up on all those fabulous movies and had read all the bold Hollywood books, and I thought I just had to take a look.
Bullying wasn’t okay in elementary school and it isn’t okay now, especially when it comes in the form of a U.S. Supreme Court decision.
I set up a laboratory in the Department of Physiology in the Medical School in South Africa and begin to try to find a bacteriophage system which we might use to solve the genetic code.
Then I started graduate school at UCLA. I got a part time research assistant job as a programmer on a project involving the use of one computer to measure the performance of another computer.
I was a total education geek. I loved school. I loved learning. I loved doing homework. All of my books and notebooks from high school are underlined and highlighted and there are notes all over the margins. And you know, I was a theater kid too. I was all over the place.
I don’t think I really know just how cool Satan really was when I was in Junior High School. Now, thanks to Marilyn Manson, it’s no longer a secret.
The funny thing is all these school shootings that we have, always happen in very religious communities. Maybe it’s because the centre of their lives is a big fat nothing and it’s just a fantasy and there’s nothing there. I think maybe that might have something to do with it.
I was little there were times I wanted my parents to be normal. I wanted them to have a religion. I wanted them to have a job, like the parents of every other kid I went to school with.
But the fact is, no matter how good the teacher, how small the class, how focused on quality education the school may be none of this matters if we ignore the individual needs of our students.
In a high school, the norms act to hold down the achievements of those who are above average, so that the school’s demands will be at a level easily maintained by the majority.