A Woodrow outsider just can’t quite grasp the mystique of our alma mater. Essential to the blithe esprit de corps of Woodrow is a sense of humor.

Call it happy-go-lucky but collegial, or mischievous and rowdy; it is benevolent, not Bourbon nor quite bohemian nor bourgeois nor Brahmin nor boorish nor Bolshevik.

Maybe it’s bodacious and boastful with excessive pride. Are you beleaguered yet?

We cared about our studies, and competition was brutal for the coveted National Honor Society and class rank. But we weren’t all eaten up by it.

Other schools had outcasts, nerds, ropers, pariahs, preppies and rah-rahs, but distinctions were blurred in our motley halls.

A good example of the joie de vivre is our drill team, the Sweethearts, who are not as regimented as, say, Riverdance. A local magazine once compared our Sweethearts with another high school whose drill team was much smaller and selective. Perfection and practice dominated their crack crackerettes.

But the Sweethearts had fun. Think about it – which skill will carry one better through the vicissitudes of life?

Yes, we would sometimes bend the rules in the Woodrow Independent School District.

“Attitude is everything,” our former Principal Wayne Pierce (the picture of jovial and jocular) used to say – mixed with audacity, perhaps.

Our football players had to play defense and offense to compete with the big teams, where most sit on the bench. But check the all-sports rankings – we’re usually near the top. And the musicals were probably the closest to perfection attained.

Woodrow also always held the highest respect for our country and those who fought to defend it. Our ROTC, once among the largest in the nation, was never pronounced “rot-see” as in many other schools. And while singing the national anthem, we always sang “that our flag was still there” with an emphasis I’ve never heard elsewhere.

The school credo, engraved over the stage in our holy of holies – the auditorium – evokes to me a “to thine ownself be true” attitude: “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.”

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