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Old school, new school

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Bobby Everage

Forty ­seven years have passed since Alton High School faculty member Bobby

Everage started his own secondary school career. He now works at the school as an

assistant for Guidance and spends his mornings doing laps around the red and grey

hallways.Through personal experiences, Everage gives back to his school and

community in any way possible.

During his time, Alton High was located on College Avenue, which is now Alton Middle

School. Everage enthusiastically noted that school back then was lenient regarding

student independence. The students weren’t as restricted or bound by excessive rules.

For example, the teens could visit restaurants uptown and eat in the parking lot, better

known as “The Pit,” for lunch.

Although the school environment was slightly hands­off, the community and its people

took on a more involved approach. Everage refers to life back then as a “family affair.”

Neighbors were not just people you lived by, they were family and knew pretty much

everything. He definitely didn’t try to get anything past the adults he knew.

Growing up in Alton and attending AHS, there was always something for Mr. Everage to

look forward to. From football games to family cook­outs, his life was all but boring.

However, he did have to endure the issue of segregation and racism. Despite this,

though, he strongly believes there opportunities for African Americans was at an all time

high. He said that there were various black businesses around town.

The success of black people in Alton came as a result of using their voices for good.

They spoke up and did what they thought was right.  Everage commented, “To get what

we wanted, which was equal opportunity, we had to fight for it.”

As years go by, many people think society would improve. Everage on the other hand

doesn’t feel that way. The ways of community and school have switched places in his

opinion. It’s sad to him that Altonians still see, but don’t take time to speak up about

problems. He also thinks schools have rules, like closed­campus, that wouldn’t have

even been discussed in his day.

“I like today, but I have not forgot where I came from,” he said. Despite having criticisms

about today’s society, he doesn’t believe everything is horrible about the modern world.

The advance in technology is one thing he wishes he had access to while he was in

school. When he didn’t know something, he had to bust out an encyclopedia and flip

through page after page. At the mention of technology, Everage gets a smile on his

face. He feels that the Internet is useful to everyone. They allow for access to more

information than he can imagine. He enjoys having answers at the mere touch of his

fingertips.

Everage still continually shows his involvement in the community, through mentoring

students and volunteering at various organizations. Giving students something he didn’t

always have as a teen has been a goal of his for quite some time. He wants the kids to

know, “You can just dream something up and it’s there.”

Being able to incorporate past experiences with current ones, he has developed positive

relationships with an array of students. Everage not only helps out in the offices, he also

tries to put a smile on the face of anyone who walks by.

Mr. Everage worked past problems in his life in order to bring happiness and an old

school feel to everyone around him. His friendly laugh and quirky conversation make his

presence known in Alton. One could even argue that  Everage is an asset to both

school and community. He may be older now, but his personality is timeless.

 

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Old school, new school