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I had no abstraction what a administrator absolutely did on a academy campus.



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I aloof knew that deans were bad, bad guys.

I’d apparent movies in which freshmen who’d done things like arrest the girls’ dorms were alleged in by these alarming men with paneled offices. The after-effects were never pretty.



Now, I had to face a man with that appellation in my adventure to become a academy apprentice and I was – to put it agilely – scared.

Welcome to the apple of academy admission, 1950s style.



What stirs this age-old memory? I apprehend afresh that the University of California arrangement will anon abate the acclaimed SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) and its accessory the ACT (American Academy Testing). California says it will advance a new agency of evaluating apprentice applicants, including a analysis of its own devising.

Whatever California comes up with, though, it can’t be as mind-blowingly alarming as accepting to face a top academy official who’d barbecue you as to why you capital to access his area and again apparently booty out a big elastic brand and accent your fate.

In my 1950s aerial academy day, you didn’t accept to anguish so abundant about civic tests, because they weren’t required. Instead, colleges tended to administrate their own day-long admissions exams – which you couldn’t adapt for because they were absolutely unpredictable. If you anesthetized the test, it was on to an account with a campus luminary so that you could be evaluated personally.

So it was that on a freezing algid Saturday morning in the winter of 1959-1960 I fabricated my way bottomward from Wilkes-Barre’s East Market Street to Chase Hall on the Wilkes Academy campus, there to be interviewed by Administrator John Whitby.

I affirm that to this day I cannot bethink a catechism Administrator Whitby asked or an acknowledgment I gave. All I do bethink is that so accommodating and affable was this admirer that I wondered if I’d absent into the amiss office. This wasn’t the way deans operated in the movies.

Substantially the aforementioned affair happened a few Saturdays after up the alley at the big capital architecture of King’s College. This time it was the registrar, the Rev. Thomas Sheehy, who was to do the honors.

I’d at atomic anesthetized by the campus before. I anamnesis that the afterimage of men cutting atramentous cassocks, accustomed briefcases and striding agilely about was abundant to acquaint me “Hey, this isn’t Sunday school, buddy.”

As I advised my interview, I doubtable a agent had article to do with befitting big books that told whether you’d be kept about or arrive to accede added possibilities – like leaving.

But Father Sheehy charge accept apparent a thousand or added cases like mine. He was an agreeable fellow, quick with a joke. Of course, I befuddled all the way through and anamnesis annihilation of that account either.

Bottom line: I anesthetized both access exams, I survived both affairs and I accustomed two belletrist of accepting (ultimately opting for King’s). Coming up with the money was not a huge problem. The schools answerable about $500 a year at the time.

Today, I accept acceptable activity for both schools. I’ve accomplished a few classes at King’s, and I’m demography courses at Wilkes.

But I absolutely achievement there’s an afterlife so that I can attending up Administrator Whitby and Father Sheehy and ask them what I’d said to them on those long-ago Saturday mornings to get into their schools.

That is – if I can authorize for the interviews.

Tom Mooney is a Times Leader history columnist. Reach him at [email protected]

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