It was a sunny day in August in 1986. I walked into Bishop Foley High School. It was the first day of freshman year. I didn’t know one person. Everyone from my grade school went to different high schools.
I picked Bishop Foley because my sister picked Bishop Foley. Everything my sister did I wanted to do. I’m not sure when I realized it maybe it was the all freshman meeting or mass. But I realized one day that I was the only black person in my entire freshman class.
Now it didn’t bother me. My family always had me in diverse settings. I remember being nervous that I didn’t know anyone. But I was there to get the job done. My dad was working hard to give us a great education and experience. I was determined to be successful.
I was proud to be a Venture. I think the hardest part was finding my locker and getting through the lunch line. Each class period I would meet someone new. Terri, Katie, Julie, Diana and Gina. I wasn’t in a “clique”. I got along with everyone. I wasn’t quite sure where I belonged. So I made it a point to make friends with everyone.
People ask me if I was discriminated against or bullied. I don’t recall any experiences like that. If someone called me a nigger. It was behind my back and I didn’t know.
I always felt accepted. There were other black students in the school. But just not in my class. When I made it through freshman year. I was proud of myself. It was hard living in Detroit and all of my friends lived in the suburbs. My friends always welcomed me in their homes. My friends came to my house for my sixteenth birthday slumber party. They saw me as Brooke. Once I answered questions about my hair we were good to go!
I enjoyed Catholic schools. I enjoyed going to mass on holy days and going on our senior retreat. When I joined the Venturettes. That’s when I made so many great friends. We would travel for competitions and perform at sporting events. I loved every moment of it and could do our dance routines now if the songs come on.
I have Bishop Foley to thank for many things. An amazing group of women that I can truly call my friends. Our mini reunion was perfect. Each of those ladies hold a special place in my heart. Even my girls that I didn’t see. It meant so much that they reached out to check on the kids and I. These are the friendships that last through every season of your life.
Bishop Foley was another place that allowed my writing to shine. I remember asking the principal why we didn’t acknowledge Dr. King’s birthday. He said it wasn’t an official holiday but that I could read a poem about Dr. King over the announcements. So I did. It was later that day that the principal called me into his office to ask me if I wanted to write an essay for black history month.
I was thrilled to do that. My essay was recognized and I won stock in McDonalds. That was a proud moment in my life.
My experience at Bishop Foley was an amazing period of my life. I walked into a situation that was out of my comfort zone and I made it work for me. The class of 1990 Forever Young!