Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I want to blog about the awesome shiny new SIGNED copy of The Deathday Letter that I received in the mail yesterday because I won it on my good friend Michelle McLean's blog last week and Shaun David Hutchinson was kind of enough to offer it up as a prize. AND sign it. But I feel that I must take a nice photo for you all to feast your eyes upon, so I will try to share about that tomorrow.

Today I'm going to write about the place I went to middle school as well as 9th grade. Falen and Palindrome have probably heard of it.

It's called Saint Paul Academy and Summit School. It's a pretty snooty college prep K-12 private school in Saint Paul, Minnesota. It has a lot of history. We'll get to that in a second.

The current school is actually a merger of two schools: Saint Paul Academy, an old boys only military academy, and The Summmit School ... you guessed it, a girls school. My mom and all her family attended these schools as kids, mom and her sisters at Summit and her brother at the Academy. When I went there in the 90s they had merged so that the old Academy campus is now the High School and Middle School and the Summit campus is the elementary. I think I've heard that this has changed since I left.

I enjoyed it there because they had things like Latin (though I took German), Pottery, Creative Writing, Computer Science and lots of other cool elective courses. I didn't enjoy it because my aunt was a teacher at the elementary school and there was a lot of pressure on me to succeed. I was always a pretty decent student but the other kids there were BRILLIANT. Most ended up at Harvard, Stanford or Brown. I got sent off to boarding school in 10th grade.

But this is not about my personal problems as a pissed off grieving and trouble-making teenager. This is about the ghosts that travel the halls at 1712 Randolph Avenue.

The most famous and by far the coolest Alumni of S.P.A. is F. Scott Fitzgerald, who actually did not graduate, but ended up being expelled for "neglecting his studies". I'm sure you know who F. Scott is but just in case you don't he is one of America's most famous authors who is most well known for having penned The Great Gatsby and This Side of Paradise. I didn't really know back then that I wanted to be a writer, but I DID enjoy writing, so it was kind of cool to know that he had stalked those very halls.

Ann Bancroft actually did graduate, in 1974. She is also an author, but she is more famous for being the first woman to extensively explore BOTH the arctic AND antarctic. She was an also a Wilderness Instructor at YMCA camp Widjiwagan where I often spent my summers, though regrettably not while I was there. She is also famous for some other awesome stuff but I won't discuss it here because I don't want to alienate anyone. Look her up if you would like to know more.

SPA was also kind of famous for being a soccer powerhouse (at least among prep schools). They won two MN State Championships while I attended but I played football so was not involved, except as a spectator. We got the day off to go watch the final at the Metrodome one year though, which was pretty cool. The coach was Buzz Lagos, who later became the coach of the Minnesota Thunder pro team, until it dissolved. The most famous player from SPA was Tony Sanneh, who was a few years older than me, and who played every minute for the United States in the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan.

So anyway, this wasn't supposed to be a boastful post, so I hope it doesn't sound that way. It's not like attending there for a few years makes me cool or educated or intelligent anyway, since I left after my freshman year (not that it would have meant any of those things if I had stayed either). It is kind of fun to look back over the years though, and to dream that one day my books will sell well enough for my name to be mentioned in the Wikipedia Article, along with those other notable alumni/ae.


Ted Cross said...

I guess it's just me, but I have no problem with alienating the kind of people that would be offended by her. I don't care to know such people.

Palindrome said...

Yay!!! Minnesota!!

I went dog sledding at YMCA Camp Menogyn! Most awesome experience eva!!

I went to the same school K-8, Benjamin E. Mays!! Holla! haha!

I just knew you seemed snotty! LOL! Totally kidding!

I love hearing about the history of my state. I always neglect MN history because well, I live here and you get used to it. Thanks for the info.


Interesting info!!

Old Kitty said...

One day, one day you never know and why not? You have the spirit of Mr Fitzgerald and Ms Bancroft hovering over your history so why not?? :-)

It sounds like an absolutely lovely school!

Take care

Emily White said...

That's really cool that your school had such awesome alumni.

You'll join their ranks some day, I'm sure of it! :)

By the way, I'm hosting a contest with lots of sparkly prizes!

Falen (Sarah) said...

HAHAHA!!! I find it hilarious that you went to St Paul Academy. I had a boyfriend (mind you this was elementary school - so "boyfriend") who transferred to SPA. He was like the richest kid in our school before he left, and that's saying a lot because North Oaks was in my school district.
My High School (Mounds View) also had all those electives. Except Latin. Though we did have chinese.
Not that it mattered. I took french.

ahhh, good times

Lenny said...

hi mr matthew! its fun reading about when you were real young. i think some day your not just gonna have your name up at that school but up in real bright lights everywhere. i hope i could be here when that happens. thanks for the nice words you said on my interview at candyland.
...hugs from lenny

salarsenッ said...

Is Wikie safe?? Hah. Just happen to read a post from an agent--said name left out--who was crabbing about Wikie. Just saying.

Kay said...

Matthew!! I have a Google follower link now! Hey, wait. I thought you joined.

I'll have to check, but it's on there if you haven't: www.kayemevans.com/blog

Thanks for checking out the conference info/tips on Justine's blog! Hope all is well!


Talli Roland said...

That's awesome! I wish I could say cool people went to my high school... but I can't!

aspiring_x said...

nifty school! loved the part about F. Scott Fitzgerald walking through the same halls!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Such prestige, Matthew! Although I'm sure you were just glad to get out alive.

DEZMOND said...

Oh, I've always loved F. Scott Fitzgerald and also his crazy wife Zelda who did some serious damage to his life and career. My cat is named after her :)

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Wow, I don't think my old school had any greats like that. Although the university I went to has produced some published authors, like the author of Guantanamo boy.

Slamdunk said...

Neat fact about you.

Each of has a unique and interesting history. I hope you do make the Wiki page one day soon.

Guinevere said...

Thanks for sharing about your old school! it sounds like a very interesting place... and I'm sure you'll get your chance to join the ranks of their notable alumni.

Jayne said...

Hello Matthew. You were my newest follower and now I am yours - nice to meet you too!

Sounds like you had some inspiring folk at your school! I don't think my school had any famous writers that stalked the halls... an athlete or two, but no one with a yen for books, sadly. Until me! Bwhahahaha... :)

Michele Emrath said...

I heard Ann Bancroft on NPR the other day and was duly impressed. And it's pretty cool that your school can claim such great alumnus (please let that be the right tense of that frustrating word). It always surprises me when Fitzgerald has Northern ties. He is such a Southern writer to me!

Interesting insight.


Christina Lee said...

Well snooty patootey, ;--) that's pretty rad!

Creepy Query Girl said...

Its good to be proud of where you come from- that school sounds fabulous. I grew up in a farmtown high school where no one famous ever went. Maybe I'll be the first:)