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Public School

I want to tell you what it was like to go to public school in the late 70s. In Mississippi.

My family moved to Long Beach, Mississippi, in October 1977. I completed my sixth grade year at Green Acres Elementary and then went to Long Beach Junior High for grades 7-9.

I don't know what kind of growth Long Beach experienced in those years - granted we moved there - but by the time I was in junior high, the school was way out of space. It had already expanded into portable classrooms which we called "portables" and were basically mobile homes? Only smaller. And not on wheels. One classroom per portable. You considered yourself lucky if you had a class in a portable - there was a little bit of a walk to get to them but at least they were air conditioned!

Yes - I went to school in southern Mississippi and our classrooms were not air conditioned. Also, we weren't allowed to wear shorts to school. So, uphill both ways, basically.

In seventh grade, I had two classes in portables - English and my elective General Music. All the choral classes were in the portables I guess so the music wouldn't interrupt other classes.

In addition to the two portable classrooms that year, I also had two classes at the local college campus. (Now that I think of it, that means I only had two total classes inside the LBJH buildings.)

University of Southern Mississippi (USM) has a Gulf Park campus in Long Beach. If you're wondering why you think you may have heard of USM before, it's because Brett Favre played football there.

Two classes of seventh graders were assigned to classrooms at Gulf Park for forth and fifth periods, and I was one of those students. We ate our lunch in the first seating, then filed onto two school buses that carted us over to Gulf Park. We had seventh grade math with Mrs. Puckett and world history with Coach Ishee over there. One class had math first, then we had a break and the teachers switched classrooms.

During the break, we were practically (12 year-old) college students. We bought sodas in the campus coke machines and hung out on the campus green.

We'd never been in junior high before. We didn't know any better. We thought this was how it was done.


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