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06 April 2011 @ 09:05 pm
 
I am angry. Not cranky, not peeved or irked or miffed or aggravated, I am angry. Or perhaps more than that: furious, enraged, incensed.

Tim Colleran stole from the Aggie.

The Aggie, my precious high school. Now, there they mention the money he stole, the buildings he broke into...

But he stole more than that.

Once upon a time, the Aggie was a haven for those who didn't always 'fit' the classic academic high schools with AP-or-not college-or-not-tracked kids who were pleased enough with indoor classes, teacher talks and words or numbers on chalk-white-SMART-what-have-you boards. This Aggie didn't even have an American Football team, and so the cheerleaders (who cheered primarily for the basketball team) didn't rule the school. In fact, one of the main School Rulers was the FFA Club (Future Farmers of America) with its vocational competitions and spiffing blue jackets.

Things started to change. A one Mrs. Green started taking over power (during my years), tampering with curricula and organisations and scheduling and teachers' classes and some of the beloved Aggie traditions. The teachers and students weren't happy. The year after I graduated Mrs. Green became principal, an old (and not particularly loved) guidance counsellor returned, an English teacher who had been itching for it became a (part-time?) guidance counsellor. There was a mass-retirement of the older, beloved teachers and figures - some not waiting the whole year and instead retiring after their birthdays. Paved paradise and put up a...

And still, from what I hear, there was that Aggie Trust - that teacher/student trust that comes from a small community of many close-to-like-minded individuals gathered to learn or teach in unique ways, or at least with appreciation of such learning. Unique activities and fund-raisers continued, old traditions marched on...

Tim Colleran stole more than $15,000. He stole something that no one can put a price to, because it is priceless and no amount of funding can bring it back when it has been lost (only time longer than many memories will do that). He stole that sense of trust, of trusting students, or trusting alumni; he stole much of what was leftover of the Aggie's beautiful sense of community, what was left from living in Administration Dark Times. He has created more darkness where much of the light had already been stolen.

I can't believe that someone who was so invested in the community - FFA Officer, teacher's pal, good student, 'trustworthy kid' - could have stolen such a thing. I'm not naive enough to believe he would think 'I am stealing something worth more than money', but to not think it in the back of his mind, to not have an Aggie-appreciative conscience telling him I am stealing from my own safe space... it's unbelievable to me.

I want to cry and scream and shout and hit things for the steady decline in this beautiful place that is meant to teach people community, independence, how to do and be exactly how and who we want to do and be. I guess Tim Colleran made his decision, whatever his reasons - and none will hold up against what he's taken. It is heart-rending that his choice affects the environment itself, the place that helps shape so many brilliant, free-thinking, free-doing people - an empowering place where people learn to value themselves as independent people working within an interdependent community. He must have missed some important lessons.

And so I am angry. Furious. Enraged. Incensed.

I don't normally resort to it, but profanity is ripping around my head like a rabid raccoon: Fuck you, Tim Colleran, for stealing from a once-thriving community that was already bleeding. You stabbed a beautiful beast in the heart. Do you know it was your heart too? Fuck. You.

The Aggie stars are falling down, falling down, falling down...

(And whoever would think we could miss the Coopers this much?)


Kiwi

A woman is like a teabag. You never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water.
[Eleanor Roosevelt]
 
 
Current Mood: enragedEnraged.
 
 
 
BrittanyShutterbugBritt on April 6th, 2011 08:15 pm (UTC)
Amazing bit of writing, and I completely agree. Those words perfectly describe the horrible thing he did. He wasn't just stealing money, he was destroying so much more than that.
Already I had noticed a change in the school during my visits, that sense of trust slowly diminishing, things changing...I doubt that Aggie will be able to trust its alumni, and students after this. =[
I doubt I'll be able to offer my help and services in the future with plant sales, events or the hayride... simply because how could you trust people after this?
I agree with everything said here. And Mrs. Green(unfortunately) is toying with old traditions and doing away with them. Which is unfortunate because we had such a wonderful sense of belonging and community before, and old Aggie traditions definitely contributed to that. =[
Kiwi Crocus: H&M || Sets self on fire.cranky__crocus on April 6th, 2011 08:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Brittles. ♥ I've missed you. We need to hang out more when I'm Stateside, get back to remembering old Aggie days, maybe gathering some stories so we can throw an Aggie Party with some of the students who didn't get to experience some of the Glory Days. (And we didn't get to experience much of them, either! We'll have to get Mikki and some others...)

It was heart-breaking seeing the changes during visits. Teachers more secretive, afraid... What an uncomfortable environment! And Mr. Dufault may love a good whinge, but to see him in those last few years... I think having his favourite classes pulled hit him harder than he really expressed. It wasn't too difficult to see it in his eyes.

I think it'll be a long time until that Aggie Trust is back - probably not until the next Re-Vamp when there's a new administration and the next crop of teachers mass-retire, if then. It may not be fore a few Re-Vamps. Who knows. And maybe we're just some angry alumni who are exaggerating the climate at our old high school. But from the outside, things look bleak - perhaps because we had a completely different atmosphere when we were inside.

It's so sad to think of no alumni helping out at Hayride, plant sales, events... Augh Tim I'm glad I'm nowhere near you, because I'd be so tempted to knock you senseless with my cane! (But of course I wouldn't; I don't like violence. Glares and long angry speeches, though...I'm a fan of those.)

That sense of belonging and community felt so wonderful after years of being bullied in 'normal' schools for being just too fond of animals or expressing just too much interest in gardening/trees/tractors/wood... It was such a unique experience. It's upsetting to think of that changing with the removal of old beloved traditions - for how many new ones are being made? And how many old traditions can be pulled out from under the school before that Unique Aggie Experience leaves entirely...?

I think that is the deep sadness that is tracing my undefinable body of anger. My foot is pumping. I have not been this angry in a long time.

Ah, Brittles, I miss you. I think this all is reminding me to value what I had and appreciate it more - recreate that feeling where I can. We should hold a Candlelight Vigil for Aggie Days Long Gone.
Just me: glass flowerskatimonk on April 7th, 2011 02:48 pm (UTC)
I'm actually kind of shocked that a former student stole the money. Then again I would have been shocked no matter what, unless it was a complete outsider. The Aggie just wasn't every the sort of place where a crime of this magnitude would have happened. I do hope that the admin gets it together and helped the student body move past this event.
101mutts: brown dog101mutts on April 8th, 2011 12:47 am (UTC)
What's happened at the Aggie is very sad! Well-written heartfelt post!

I think Mrs. Murphy also contibuted to some of the change with her cancelling of summer trip and focus on MCAS scores. (you may have been saying that above) Rumor has it that McFarland will retire in two years when he's eligible and Mrs. Green will take that position. I wonder how that will change things. Perhaps she'll be less controlling in that role? Maybe not. I would guess the list of duties is different from that of principal.

I talked to some alumni who said Mrs. Green was very different as a teacher, bringing them Dunkin Donuts for early morning doubles in the livestock barn. And when she helped out at Spring Show she was great. I don't understand how someone who knows the Aggie traditions would feel the need to change so many of them. Nelson and I have been talking about how she takes everything as her idea. A pavillion that I think Mrs. Harudian suggested and Nelson jumped on board with it suddenly Mrs. Green's idea.

:( Mr. Dufault's last few years were very sad. I'm wondering if I'm watching Bill move in the same direction. We were joking that he'd know it was time to leave if he turned off the intercom to have a private conversation.

The students are definitely affected by the administration but it's the staff who takes the real brunt. Shivers.

Tim was often around for my parli pro meetings in Fraser's room. He's not who'd you expect but I also can't say I'm that I'm shocked that it was an alumn who knew the ways of the Aggie.

New freshman still come in bright eyed and completely excited to be working with animals, plants or engines. At least that's a little bit of hope.

gerristgerrist on April 9th, 2011 08:02 pm (UTC)
What a thing to happen in your senior year Shaya! I'm so sorry. Lovely angry post Kiwi. xo
101mutts: chalice101mutts on April 11th, 2011 01:12 am (UTC)
What traditions are you referring to? The peer leadership activities and trips, maybe?