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There Is A Place For Us

August 3, 2021

From a long time ago…


Fast backwards (That’s a favorite term of mine.) I am a newly minted English teacher in San Fernando High School in my hometown of San Fernando, California and I am attempting to teach Romeo and Juliet paired with Westside Story. Back in the day I was an innovative type of teacher, “newfangled” as we were called back then. The common practice then for us newbies was to pair the two in order to bring Romeo and Juliet to life in the modern era.

My class was a typical inner city affair with about 45 percent Hispanic, 45 percent black and 10 percent white students. I was having a terrible time trying to get the core concepts of the two paired pieces of literature to hit home. The class just didn’t get it. After a week of frustration, I hit upon a most unorthodox idea.

I divided the class purposefully along…

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  1. As a Junior at Bishop Alemany in the San Fernando Valley….the epicenter to our sixties quest.. to begin our imprint on how society would proceed….We were studying Shakespeare…and becoming fascinated with the poetry. A class road trip brought our attention to Romeo & Juliet. A ’68 film about passions, conviction and devastation. Lost opportunities for peace & love. As we were experiencing the clash ourselves, in society and the forces of the world stage. From Camelot to unrecognizable chaos.

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    • I think I was teaching when you were still in school. San Fernando High was a tough school, even back then. However I seem to have made a good impression on many of my students (or at least that’s what they tell me).


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