Minneapolis Geeks United

Parents often worry about their kids’ educations.  I do.  My son comes home from his city school and tells me what happened in the bathroom (often resembles a movie bar fight while he tries to do his business) and I get scared.  “Oh no! What are we doing to him? Can he possibly prosper in such a wild environs?”

Then I remember the S.E. Hinton-style “gang” fights at my own middle school out in them there rural hills. Weird sort of preps verses greaser ordeals (lots of swearing, some sweating, the rare wrestle down before teachers broke it up).  I remember the car accidents and the lunch-line dust-ups, and the occasional sweet-smelling sleepy whisky teacher and I feel a little better.  My education wasn’t perfect. There were dangers.  There were obstacles I doubt hinder private school kids.  And, yet, I did okay in the end.  In fact, many of my peers are really prospering.

Will my son? Prosper?  At a real city school?  Last weekend gave me great hope that he’ll actually be far better prepared for the real world than me from my cow town (and most prep school kids).  He and his pal showed their history day project in a competition involving kids from all the middle schools and high schools in Minneapolis.

Son and Pal with medaling history paper and display

Why am I so hopeful?  The competition, at South High, was completely packed to the gills with kids and teachers and volunteers.  Every race and religion was represented.  During a break, there were Muslim girls in head scarves throwing around a football, skater boys tossing Frisbees, Latinas laughing with African Americans chasing stereotypical Minnesota Swedes in a mass game of tag.  These kids were only superficially different. Mostly they were united.  They were the United Geeks of Minneapolis.

United Geeks and Adult Entourage

At the awards ceremony, the cheering turned raucous as projects from all over the city earned medals. Everyone cheered for everyone (there was a little mild booing — weird — aimed at Southwest High, which is a high-achieving school in the richest part of town (class consciousness, I guess)).  The United Geeks of Minneapolis naturally supported each other.  Very pretty.

Son and Pal medaled and are moving on to the State competition.  I’m very curious to see if this spirit of common geekery holds.  What I know, in Minneapolis, no need to fear, because the kids are all right.


2 Responses to “Minneapolis Geeks United”

  1. 1 Bettina Restrepo April 6, 2011 at 8:41 am


    What a beautiful article – and this should be widely read! I feel inspired!

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I am…

Geoff Herbach. I am the author of Stupid Fast and Nothing Special, among a bunch of other stuff. When I'm not writing, I teach writing at Minnesota State, Mankato.

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