I went to A.C. Flora High School. It was only 3 blocks from my house, and it was the best school in Columbia at the time. My brother had gone there before me, and we had a lot of the same teachers. Unfortunately, they wanted to compare me to him. It was at Flora that I became socially and politically aware of what was going on around me. In 10th grade, I realized that the Vietnam War was wrong, because I took the negative side in a debate in a History class. I don't know what would have happened, if I had taken the affirmative position. Anyway, I tried to make good grades, but it wouldn't be so good. I even had a cousin who was a teacher there, and she almost failed me. One teacher had dated my brother, when they were older, and she almost failed me. We had a substitute English teacher, who only talked about going to nude beaches in Sardinia. But, there were also pluses. I got to meet James Dickey through my Senior English teacher, whose husband taught at USC. And there was Forensics.
The National Forensic League sponsored speech tournaments between schools in our area and beyond. Once, we went to Bluefield, WV to go to a debate tournament. My specialty in these tournaments was the Congress portion, where I would be one of several representatives debating issues of the day. I got several awards for winning these Congress events. I started out in debate my Sophomore year. My debate partner and I went to a tournament at Dentsville, and the opponent school asked me a question in the debate if this topic was already inherent in the system. I didn't know what "inherent" meant, and I looked over at my debate partner, and he shrugged his shoulders. We lost the debate, but I learned from that experience to always be prepared for anything, and carry a dictionary with you. The highlight of every year was the Model U.N. Each school chose a country to represent, and they would send three members of the school to go. The first year, we had Ireland. It wasn't too exciting to be Ireland, so we tried to declare war on the UK. It made for some interesting debate. The second year, we got Byelorussia. Once again, we were being dominated by the Soviet Union, so we tried to secede from Russia. It didn't go anywhere, so we walked out. My Senior year was the most fun. We took Albania. You would think that would be the least exciting, but Albania was allied with China at the time, and we caused so much havoc that they wanted us to leave. In fact, the other members voted us out of the U.N., but we refused to go. We set up our own U.N. within the confines of the General Assembly. We were all hippies back then, so it made sense. We also disliked the guys from Dreher, as they were our archrivals in sports. If they brought up a resolution on world peace, we advocated world war. If they brought up a resolution on health, we advocated genocide. It was brutal. When I graduated from Flora, I went back the next year to participate in the Model U.N., as once again they had Albania. I had to sneak on campus, because I was no longer a student there, and I was found out and kicked out of the proceedings. The sponsors tried to make it dignified, but for us it was just great fun.
There were 601 in our Senior class, and 537 graduated. The graduation was in the Township Auditorium downtown. As the procession started, we were told to remain standing until the entire class came in. As my name started with "D", I had to wait on the "Z"'s came in. I stood for 35 minutes. I didn't get to go to the party afterwards, because my family had to go to a wedding in Alabama, and we left right after the ceremony. Oh well.