When I was in 8th grade at St. Malachy’s RC School in Brooklyn, I was in the final round of my academic rivalry with Kathleen Schroeder. And she took the test to be admitted to Hunter College High School. So of course I HAD TO take it too.
I couldn’t believe how easy the admission test was. I got in.
It was an honor I guessed. But I had no idea what Hunter was. But since i got accepted, I thought I might oughta go. I was 12.
Kathleen didn’t get in.
When the nuns got word, I became a special concern. They admonished me: Hunter is a school where they teach “Evolution.”
“Don’t listen to that” I was warned.
As it happened, I never went to church again. It was a big relief, and I did listen. So much for warnings.
Hunter College H.S. Was at that time called “a laboratory school for gifted girls.” Every morning I rode the subway from East New York, the ass-end of Brooklyn to 68th St. & Lexington Ave. in Manhattan. An hour and 15 minutes each way.
Let’s not talk about what happens to 13 year old girls on the subway. The main thing was to ignore and avoid getting semen on your clothes. Enough said.
We girls from Parochial school were at a big disadvantage. Most of the other girls had been in Hunter since Kindergarten, and those who hadn’t came in the 7th grade from Jeshiva, where small fortunes had been spent on their educations. I was on Academic Probation in a flash. From the smartest girl to the dummy group in an instant. It was demoralizing.
But after struggling for 4 years, I went to college and it was so much easier than my high school, I graduated Summa Cum Laude with Departmental Honors.
High school wasn’t fun. College was a blast.
Somehow I must have learned something. And once you’re a Hunter Girl, you are always a Hunter Girl.
Thank you Irving Kizner and Jane Greenspan our class counselors. And thank you Bernie Miller who refused to let me drop out when I was having a breakdown in 10th grade.
He insisted I belonged at Hunter. He got me counseling instead. Within a few months I was off probation and once again on track.
The abuses at home from my father and my brother continued. I lived through it.
So in a way Hunter gave more than a pass to college. It saved my life.