In the Barbershop: High School Memories - OZY | A Modern Media Company


Because those glory days could be a lot better. 

By Tom Gorman

Anthony Hamilton is an OZY essayist. This is part of an ongoing OZY video series of conversations in his Mountain View, California, barbershop.

When it comes to public education in the United States, it can sometimes seem like no one is satisfied. States continue to defect from the national Common Core curriculum, lawmakers keep debating revisions to the No Child Left Behind testing regime, parents put their kids in charter schools. Educators, policymakers and parents all have their own ideas how to make school better, but for most students, education — especially high school — can be a daily dose of good and bad and boring all at the same time.

OZY essayist Anthony Hamilton says his Texas high school was a refuge from negativity at home, but not so much a citadel of education. “I didn’t learn anything. Teachers gave you the bare minimum and hoped you got something out of it.” 

Many of Hamilton’s customers agree that their schools didn’t prepare them to win, but just as many highlight dedicated educators, affirming after-school clubs and the structural focus of athletics as powerful tools that helped plant the seeds of success later in life. In this latest edition of our “Barbershop” series, Hamilton finds out how his patrons made it through the high school blues. 

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