Some works and words from alumni...
Seaside town receives it's own high School
The year was 1963. For the first time, the developing town of Boca Raton would have its own
high school. Up until then, Boca students attended Seacrest High School (now known as Atlantic
High School) in Delray Beach. Boca Raton High was beautiful and brand new, a glaring contrast
to what it has come to look like almost 40 years later. It was also in the middle of nowhere,
seeing as I-95 did not exist and the residential areas surrounding the school were yet to be
At first, the school had a small population, Only the ninth graders were transferred to Boca
Raton High halfway their school year from JC Mitchell, which back then served kindergarten
through the ninth grade. The class of about 100 students received the rare privilege of being the
oldest for their four years of high school. They never had to worry about looking up to seniors or
any other school precedents.
Decades ago, Boca High was different, in more ways than one. When the school first opened,
gym uniforms didn't consist of boxers and oversized T-shirts for the girls. Instead, they had
white one-piece jumpsuits with snaps running all down the middle. Also, since there was no gym,
the cafeteria doubled up for school dances and pep rallies. There were no soda machines next to
the 200 building, and the Cuckoo's Nest was nonexistent. And since security was not a main
concern at the time, fences didn't surround the school.
In the 1960's, it wasn't about hanging out at Mizner Park or Town Center Mall because Boca
Raton could barely call itself a city. The local hangout was "Teen Town," a place for live bands
and dancing on Palmetto Park Road. There was also Corky's Pizza, University Bowl, the Pavilion,
Jolly Burger and the everlasting Boca Raton South Beach. FAU was just opening up, and IBM
hadn't even arrived. Alumni, Holly Barton, class of 1966, recalled, "When I moved to Boca in
1961, it was a sleepy little retirement community where everyone pretty much knew everyone
else. You could walk on the beach at any hour of the day or night, without interference from the
police and without encroaching on the private beaches of condos and hotels."
Although many of us remember recent events at Boca High, a look back in history demonstrates
that the 1990's were no more crazier than the days of peace, love, and happiness. In 1965,
Hurricane Betsy hit South Florida, keeping Boca High closed for the first week of school.
Unfortunately, due to the flooding, the library smelled of mildew for years after.
So, while the original school of Boca may no longer be new, it will always remain the home of
memories of many generations. Gary Garvin, class of 1968 said, "The most memorable years of
my life were spent at Boca Raton High School (1965-1968). I had never made so many friends as
I had done there. And, the teachers were the greatest. It truly was a remarkable era."
Special thanks to Gary Garvin's website, http://www.geocities.com/garvoon and to all the alumni
The epoch of violence and prejudice
Boca High has known its share of violence. In February 1973, Boca High was a haven to race
riots, in which both students and teachers were seriously injured.
Problems began in 1972 when the Palm Beach County School Board decided firstly to bus black
students to primarily white schools in order to achieve a racial balance, and secondly to convert
Carver High school into a middle school. The black students were divided between Seacrest High
and Boca High. About 350 black teenagers were sent to Boca.
There was resentment on both sides. The Boca High white majority didn't want the former
Carver students, and the blacks did not want to go to a school where they would become the
minority. While black students had attended Boca High prior to the school board's decision, there
were very few. Many white students felt threatened and didn't desire to deal with a substantial
amount of the student body being black.
Once school started, the problems began with small acts of rebellion. Racial comments were
scrawled in bathroom stalls and boys pushed students of the opposite race into lockers. But as
anger became more intense, the outbreaks grew worse, leading to a week of the most dangerous
rioting Boca High has ever seen in its history.
The terror started on Monday, February 5th, when 16 students were injured after a group of
black students were welcomed to school with "white power" signs painted on the walls with
sayings such as, "Go home nigger," and, "Boonies go home." Acts of violence from both sides
included throwing stones at bus windows, kicking cars, and assaults with weapons such as razor
blades, knives and "cake cutters." The 25 policemen arriving at the scene deemed it necessary to
use tear gas in order to get control of the situation.
The school attempted to resume class on the following Wednesday; however, they were forced
to close down again when three white students were arrested for bringing weapons to school.
Trouble began after physical fights broke out between whites and blacks when about 150 to 200
white students met in the school football field before class and then walked into school together,
surrounding a group of 50 blacks in the patio. Later that day, six black students were arrested for
carrying concealed weapons to school and leading police on a car chase until they were
surrounded in Delray Beach. The school stayed closed for the remainder of the week.
Mr. Robinson, a current history teacher at Boca High, recalled that while teachers didn't
encourage the racism, they did nothing to stop it. They allowed derogatory comments to be said
in class. Another major reason the uprisings were not contained was a weak administration.
According to the Sun-Sentinel, on one occasion the acting principal Lawrence Patrone failed to
call the police until after he had asked for advice from the county administrators.
The riots occurred less often after the Ambassador's Club was created at Boca High. The
purpose of the club was to create a place where students could sit down and talk about their
problems, which led to better relations between all students. The administration also began
issuing expulsions to students who were out of control. Once both races were able to set their
differences in color aside, teens could focus on building friendships and remaining peaceful.
From disaster, a ray of hope
Boca High desperately needs a makeover. The school is an eyesore to Boca. Our city makes
many beautification requirements, but to what end? Our school looks old, dirty, and worn-down.
Unfortunately, it is.
For instance, let's take the air-conditioning system. The classrooms can be hot one day and
freezing the next. This inconsistency negatively affects the student body.
Our school also is home to many animals. Ducks are normally seen traversing the North Patio,
scavenging for any scraps students leave from their lunches. Rats live on campus, too. The
disease-spreaders scurry through the air ducts and have even been seen in classrooms.
Ever notice how the school smells on certain days? That's because the school is positioned right
by the water treatment plant. There are times when the stench overwhelms the school. It's not
the school's fault, but it doesn't help the learning environment.
Boca High's bathrooms flood and are a mess. The flooding is a technical thing; however, being a
mess is simply the students' fault. Not all students; mainly those who commit vandalism by
writing on the walls. For instance, the 100 and 200 bathrooms were painted dark blue to cover
graffiti, but lo and behold, see what appears! There are myriads of "I love Bob" on the walls,
which should not be part of the bathrooms.
However, there is an answer to all the problems: a new school. The topic has floated about for a
couple of years now, but nothing has been done. That is, until now. The school sent out a survey
asking parents if they wanted the new school on its current campus or at Blue Lake. For those
who answered, the majority said that the school should remain a community school and stay at
its current site. Therefore, the new school will be built where the football field currently is, and
it'll be one building instead of being spread out. It's scheduled to open sometime in 2003. The
only students who may enjoy the comparative utopia are the current freshmen. Imagine how
happy the next generation will be when they come to a brand new school.
All in all, the school is falling apart and everyone knows it. We can only hope for a better school
to come, which has been promised to us by the school board. The current Boca High is serving
its last days, and while it's been loyal over the years, it's time to finally put it to rest.
Boca High becomes technologically advanced
When the first class of Boca High graduated, did they think of future classes? Most likely these
flower-child Bobcats never gave any thought to what their school would be like 30 years down
the road; and why should they? We don't give thought to what the class of 2030 will be like. But
maybe we should. Take a moment to imagine the Boca High of the future.
7:30 AM The first bell rings. (Nothing different from our bell except that it rings the same
number of times every time that it sounds.) Students rush to class on the escalators that were
added in 2020. The girls are checking their hair while the boys are busy trying to remove their
enormous pant legs from the escalator steps. As the kids dart through the halls, some are putting
away the mandatory cell phones and others are closing their lockers with the keyless entry that
each has. Just as the last bell is ringing, Bobcats are hurrying through the sliding security doors
with metal detectors inside of them. Once these electronic doors shut, there is no way to enter
the classroom from outside unless the teacher tells the voice operated security system to open the
door. There is no way out: classrooms are now a literal jail.
8:05 AM Nothing much will change about the way that classes are taught, the only difference is
that each student has a laptop and is required to use it. No more wasting paper with notes, and
definitely no more hand cramps from too much writing. There is a mandatory stretch break
halfway through class because of the fact that research proved that 92-minute classes are
harmful to the lower back. Yoga is now conducted during the interim.
9:10 AM Announcement time. A miniature TV pops up from the corner of every desk in the
school. This is used for school messages, announcements, and the boring movies that teachers
love to show. TV is now 3D; can you imagine how amazing the football clips must be?
9:15 AM The bell rings to proceed to second hour. The halls are what we're used to, minus the
note passing. Nope, no more notes. Know why? Everyone has email and instant messaging on
their cell phones and they can talk during class, a benefit of the future.
12:00 PM Lunch. The world has finally caught on that all students should eat lunch at noon.
The cafeteria is no longer the last place anyone would want to eat. Lunch is an hour long and
students have the option of choosing identifiable food. Students enjoy the tropical setting of the
cafeteria, which is decorated with palm trees, and tablecloths. There are robots that serve
everyone and clean up afterwards.
1:00 PM The bell rings for fourth hour. Everyone is moving a little slower now that they've had
a big lunch, but don't fear the deans are still here. As the future Bobcats scurry to their last class,
they can hear booming voices that warn them of their last minute.
2:53 PM The final bell rings and the students are finally free. They make their way back to the
underground garages. Bobcats pile into their cars and make their way home. I could say that the
cars float like in the Jetsons but even I can't predict to that extreme. After everyone has gone
home, the school closes up and the self-cleaning mechanism kicks in. The Boca High of the
future gets cleaned everyday, in every corner of the school. Who said the future won't bring
great strides in humanity?
|A student is injured because of
the race riots.
Recently, I was contacted by Angela Perez from Boca Raton Community High School and
was asked if I wouldn't mind being interviewed for an upcoming series of articles for their school
paper, The Predator (December 22, 2000). I complied. But little was I to know what a fine
series of articles would be written which shadowed some of the past, present and future. These
are very moving articles.
Seaside Town and An Epoch of Violence were written by Angela Perez, A Ray of Hope by
Marie Smith and Technologically Advanced by Natalie Scruton. Credits were also given to
Marie Smith for the centerspread design and Andrea Carlucci for contributing art. Since the
article was sent to me in hard copy, I had to keyboard the text. The accompanying photo and
illustration were carried over, but unfortunately, I was unable to retain the centerspread design and
capture all of the artwork within the margins.
Folks, these students did a tremendous job, so I give you...
As The Bobcat Walks on...
I Remember Boca!