James I. O’Neill High School
That’s the place I went to high school. I can’t recommend it to anyone as I thought it totally sucked. But that was my experience. Others I know feel differently.
But it was a fascinating place for one reason, it was a mashup of four completely different communities. I’ll let Mike Doughty, who also went there, about ten years after I did, tell the story, since he already did on his blog:
There were four towns feeding our high school’s student body; West
Point, where I lived, was generally the obsessively high-achieving,
secretly-haunted kids of Army officers. Highland Falls and Fort
Montgomery were, respectively, lower-middle and working-class towns
characterized by extreme resentment at living in West Point’s shadow.
Garrison was where the rich kids lived. On that side of the
river–the East–was the commuter train to New York, Grand Central
Station. This was an extreme demarcation–the West side of the Hudson
is forever the thrift side for lack of of this pipeline. Garrison kids
tended to wear clothes bought at Canal Jean in the city, had excellent
multicolored Vans shoes, and good cars.
That was James I O’Neill High School and I was "the obsessively high-achieving,
secretly-haunted kid of Army officers".
My niece Julia goes there now. I think she likes it a bit better than I did. I sure hope so.
Jackson and Tony Alva, well known to the commenters on this blog, went there. I think they liked it better than I did. They can do what they always do and let you know in the comments.
I doubt Mike Doughty reads my blog, but if he does, I’d love to know what he thought about O’Neill.
I did get an email about six months ago from a woman I knew in high school named Betsy who happened upon my blog. She said, "are you the Fred Wilson who graduated from O’Neill High School in 1979". I replied "yes, that would be me, the arrogant punk know it all kid". She replied, "yes, that’s how I remember you".
Now with my oldest daughter in high school, I am reliving through her all the messed up emotions of those years. Sucking In The 70s. Exactly.