Two years ago I made a return visit to familiar ground, my old high school in Augusta Georgia, Richmond Academy as we called it. Its official name is the Academy of Richmond County and that was always said with head held high, nose up approach to anyone that dared to say they went to another school. Initially the school was an all-male, privately funded school, and then became a military school after the Civil War. President George Washington attended graduation ceremonies at ARC in 1791. The first two years Junior ROTC was required for all male students. So naturally with its rich history we were all proud to be a part of this great learning institution.
It was an early spring morning on the day I visited the campus. I was surprised how few cars were parked around the campus; I suppose they no longer let students drive to school as we did back in the late 60s. If anything, it seemed empty, supposedly because of the new growing school districts with new high schools now. Students were in the process of changing classes as I drove up the drive. After parking I got out with my camera and started taking some pictures. Naturally this brought some attention from some of the students. I told them I was a student at their school in 1969. They all wanted to know what it was like in the old days. Told them ‘not much difference I guess, seemed like less students now though’ and shared a few more stories about the place. It was a good visit, the students had an interest in the schools history and, of course, in my part of the history as well. And yes I got permission to take a few pictures of the grounds but not the students. These are a few shots taken of the old grounds.
These are the desks we had in 1968
Walt Whitman once wrote-
An Old Man’s Thought of School
An old man, gathering youthful memories and blooms, that youth itself cannot.Now only do I know you!
O fair auroral skies! O morning dew upon the grass!And these I see—these sparkling eyes,
These stores of mystic meaning—these young lives,
Building, equipping, like a fleet of ships—immortal ships!
Soon to sail out over the measureless seas,
On the Soul’s voyage.Only a lot of boys and girls?
Only the tiresome spelling, writing, ciphering classes?
Only a Public School?
Ah more—infinitely more;
(As George Fox rais’d his warning cry, “Is it this pile of brick and
mortar—these dead floors, windows, rails—you call the church?
Why this is not the church at all—the Church is living, ever living Souls.”)
And you, America,
Cast you the real reckoning for your present?
The lights and shadows of your future—good or evil?
To girlhood, boyhood look—the Teacher and the School.