Rugger   Friday, October 17, 2003, 05:01 GMT
A.S.C.M, my former high school used to have house dance drama every year on top of other school house activities, and I used to hate having to participate. But if you wanted your school stripes, you had to participate. I was more of an academic person and not into the arts, sports or music, so I generally limited my self to house debating.

I'd like to ask you about the differences you have noticed between your UK school and your current American school. I had an American friend in high school and she exclaimed how it was so much more different to what she had experienced in the States. She said that the greatest difference for her, not including the uniform issue, was that we all sat outside in the school gardens and ate our home brought lunch, instead of having a school cafateria with benches for sitting and eating. Plus, she was also suprised about how large our particular school was, given that it went from preparatory to year 12. Here is my high school's website:
Californian   Friday, October 17, 2003, 05:45 GMT
Rugger, it sounds like you just described my school... we eat on the school lawn (some of us) aka the gardens, a lot of people bring lunch from home like me (caf food is so gross), and our high schoo (9-12) has 3,000 students. There are also no uniforms since it is a public school. However, a lot of people do buy lunch in the caf and eat on the benches in the caf or outside the caf.
Californian   Friday, October 17, 2003, 06:05 GMT
Wooooooo I go to the #2 ranked public high school in the state of California!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A.S.C.M. I see your school is #9. Well it seems like we beat you. hehehe only playing
A.S.C.M.   Friday, October 17, 2003, 06:24 GMT
All right, Rugger, here is a full comparison, though some things cannot be compared because I attended primary school and two years of sec. sch in the UK and the rest of sec. sch in the US. The year levels in which I studied in the UK would be considered "elementary school" and "middle school" in the US and those school levels are VERY different in the US from "high school".

UK- We always sat in groups and the majority of work was group work (but again, that was in primary school).
US- In most classes, we sit in rows and columns. Occasionally, we would put our desks together for group discussions (but again, this is secondary school).

UK- We stored our belongings and coursework in trays.
US- We store our belongings and coursework in lockers.

Physical Education:
UK- We had PE classes two times each week.
US- We had PE classes four times each week in Years 9 and 10. Year 11 and 12 students do not have to take PE.

UK- We ate in the classroom. The teachers made sure that we didn't waste food. Students brought their own lunches.
US- We eat anywhere we like (note: there are no benches or tables in my school's cafeteria, only three food counters). Most students eat in the school courtyard. I eat in a classroom of a teacher who "stays in" during lunch. The teachers don't care about food waste. Some students bring their own lunches, others purchase school lunches at the food counters.

Queues and Assemblies:
UK- We formed a single file queue every time we entered or left class. The same applied to assemblies, which were held every Tuesday and Friday.
US- Students enter and leave classes freely and in a disorderly fashion. Even when teachers ask their students to form queues, the request is often ignored. The only time we are forced to queue up (else suffer consequences) is during an emergency drill. Assemblies are only held for special events.

School Size:
My school in California is far larger than my UK school, though there are around the same number of students. This is partially due to the (former) availability of vast expanses of land in suburban California.

Final Note:
Rugger, I believe that your American friend attended school in an urban district, hence the small size of his school and the presence of a cafeteria. I remember that Californian goes to school in San Francisco, which is an urban district where schools are absolutely different from what they are like in the suburbs forty miles southeast, where I live.
A.S.C.M.   Friday, October 17, 2003, 06:25 GMT
Californian, the rankings you found are valid as of 1999. That's four years ago!
Rugger   Friday, October 17, 2003, 07:12 GMT
Thanks A.S.C.M for your reply.

Do American schools have muck up day at the end of year 12? Here, year 12's finish the school year ealier than the other year levels, around October 20th. During the whole last week, there is a tradition for Melbourne high schoolers to throw eggs/water bombs at unsuspecting junior/middle school students. When I was at school, the local boys' school would drive past the gates of our school during lunch time, and throw eggs at the girls sitting in the school yard eating lunch. Sometimes they wear masks and run through the school with water bombs or eggs and target the poor little year 7's. I once got egged on a train and was in a mess by the time I reached home, plus my blazer had to be dry cleaned. I hear from my sister that it is now the practice of school kids to carry their own eggs around during the year 12's last week of school, so that they have some ammunition. One year, the year 12's at my school swapped around all the middle school lockers, so that when the middle school students came to school in the morning, they couldn't open what they thought was their locker. They also wrapped the major trees in the school with toilet paper.

Also, year 12's dress up on the last school days based on different themes. For example, I remember dressing up for the theme "uniform from another school", and ended up wearing the school uniform of a friend's brother. Anyway, sorry to digress from the topic, but all this came to mind since my sister was egged today for the first time!

P.S. the Australian actress Cate Blancehette went to my school! :-)
A.S.C.M.   Friday, October 17, 2003, 07:25 GMT
Year 12 students in the U.S. don't throw eggs at lowerclassmen but they sometimes do play "senior pranks" such as wrapping trees with toilet paper. Moreover, year 12 students don't get out of school early in the U.S. but they do end their classes early and spend the last week in school practising for the graduation ceremony. have school blazers, how lucky. I never got to wear a blazer to school. My UK school had a uniform of shirt, tie, jumper, and trousers. I currently wear a similar set of clothes to school but minus the tie.

I never thought you were a girl. "Rugger" sounded like a boy's nickname to me.
Rugger   Friday, October 17, 2003, 07:57 GMT
I took the name Rugger becuase I'm a huge rugby union fan, and yes, it does sound like a boy's nickname. ;-)
Californian   Friday, October 17, 2003, 15:36 GMT
The upperclassmen always throw eggs, water balloons, stink bombs, and whip cream at the lousy freshmen on rally days. They must suffer!! HAHAHA
A.S.C.M.   Saturday, October 18, 2003, 05:19 GMT
To Californian:
Thanks goodness upperclassmen in my school are civilised
Isn't you school the one that got sued for not having enough Latinos or Blacks or something like that?

To Rugger:
Having been to school today, I can tell you one extra thing about school life in the United States: "code red drills", which I did mention briefly in my last post. The purpose of these drills is to prepare us for attacks by paranoid shooters and terrorists. Following is what we did today after our fifth class:

11.45- Annoyingly loud school alarm started to sound. Announcement: "This is a code red drill. Classes, please prepare your barricades and carry out the standard drill procedures." We stacked up desks and tables in a defensive barricade in front of the classroom door and in a diagonal line across the classroom.

11.45-12.15- Forty students in my class were crammed on the floor into a little corner of my classroom. We had to face away from the door, keep our heads down, and maintain complete silence. Some people slept, one boy snored.

12.15- City government volunteers, acting out the role of policemen, knocked on our door and shouted to us in the classroom. We replied that we were "safe" and removed the barricade. We then put our hands on our heads and filed out of the classroom in a single file queue (how amazing). Still with our hands on our heads and in our queue (even more amazing), we took a roundabout route around the campus to the football field and filed onto the bleachers. The teacher did a roll call to ensure that everyone was "evacuated and safe".

12.15-12.45- We sat on the bleachers, burning under the sun.

12.45- End of drill.
Rugger   Saturday, October 18, 2003, 05:40 GMT
I could never imagine schools here conducting such drills, A.S.C.M. My school did have occasional fire/bomb scare drills, where all students evacuated onto the school oval and got into their form lines so that their form room teachers could do a roll call. However, what you just described sounds very serious and intense. I know that many of the local boys' grammar schools in the area I live have cadet programmes and you see the boys dressed in military gear practicing similar types of drills you mentioned.
wassabi   Saturday, October 18, 2003, 05:42 GMT
totally of topic, but are any of you going to go to the International Independant Schools' Public Speaking Championships? my school's hosting it this year.
Juan   Saturday, October 18, 2003, 05:45 GMT
Who knew that the antimoon forums where full of school children!!?? I'm feeling a bit old and out of place in here now.
wassabi   Saturday, October 18, 2003, 05:57 GMT
here's another one: Pampers, i now (as well as some other people) call diapers pampers
Juan   Saturday, October 18, 2003, 06:02 GMT
I was under the impression that Victorians where not particularly interested in rugby. Are you orgininally from NSW Rugger? Specially since you are a girl and members of the fairer sex usually dont have one iota of interest in sports. Isn't Aussie Rules your cup of tea, eh? And like you said before your nick is a bit deceiving since I always assumed that you were a burly 40 year old Australian male.