Friday, October 05, 2007

Go Dons

Last year sometime early in the year I spotted a dude in an Acalanes shirt. What's "Acalanes" you ask? It's the very unique name of MY HIGH SCHOOL back in California! And here's a kid right in front of me wearing the shirt from my school! So I said, "Did you go to Acalanes?" "Yes." Woohoo! Such a random occurrence that two people from the same high school come to UVA Law (where our entire student population is something like 1300). And even rarer that two people from the same high school on the exact opposite side of the country would be standing in the same hallway. And that they'd know about it. So we chatted about my hometown, Lafayette, the school, family in the area, and what we've done since graduation. So cool!

So fast forward to this past week. I went to support my first-year section in their softball game against a rival section. As I leave the game, I see a woman from the other team wearing an ACALANES SHIRT! Turns out she went to Acalanes too! Turns out we've got THREE people from my high school here! What are the chances?!!

Why the name "Acalanes"? It's a reflection of two old cultures in the history of the area. When the Spanish people came to the area, they became friendly with the local Indian tribe, the Ahalan people. In the Spanish pronunciation, they called the tribe "Acalan" and the people "Acalanes." The area is named for them, and the school is named for them. (I learned most of that from my Citizenship in the Community merit badge.)

And our mascot, the "Don," follows in the same light. Some people think the school is named after some guy named Donald, but that's just lame. In fact, a Don is a Spanish knight (like Don Quixote). At all games, we yell "Go dons!" Except at the cross country races, where for some reason they say it backward: "Snodog" (snow-dog).

Here's a photo from up on the hill above the school. You'll notice that it's not all one building. In fact, the door to each classroom leads outdoors. It's an outdoor school. There are overhangs to keep you from getting wet in the rain, but there's no need to keep it all indoors since it never gets colder than the 40s (and even then, the 40s are like the dead of winter). And it never snows! Gosh I love the Bay Area. And check out the beautiful golden hills.

So many memories in this place. The parking lot on the right is where I used to sit in my car with my friends in the morning and listen to our favorite radio show. On the left side of the photo is the building where I spent a zillion hours in choir, practicing musical scenes, and singing in my little a cappella groups. Junior prom happened somewhere in the middle of this photo. This is the place where I grew up. (And my house is less than a mile down the road to the right.)

A shout out to my fellow Acalanes Dons everywhere!


rosa brown said...

I thought outdoor schools were only in the movies. I didn't know they were actually real...

Lauritz and Michelle said...

Dave Brown! This is Hermana Okabe - now Petersen. I don't know if you remember me but we served together. I saw the link to your website from Irene's site so I thought I would see what you've been up to. My husband and I are actually living outside of Baltimore, MD - he got a job with the government. Your post about the Bay Area brought back a lot of memories for me too. I think I took the SAT's at your high school. I just wanted to say hello. If you're ever up this way I'd love to see you and meet your wife.

davecharliebrown said...

Hermana Okabe! Of course I remember you! I'm so glad you stopped by to say hello. I would leave a comment on your blog, except your profile doesn't have a link to your blog.

Rosa and I are considering taking a trip to Spain next year. Keep your fingers crossed!

nissanmama said...

Not to sound like a ditzy cheerleader, but it took me a while to learn to spell A-C-A-L-A-N-E-S while moving at the same time. All the "A's" make it feel like "bananas."