Over the course of the school year the popularity contest they called Student Council was held in which the more popular kids in the school ran for offices in the school’s student government. Posters were made, ballets printed, and votes counted. It didn’t really matter much to me who won, well except for Becky who I thought was the most beautiful girl in school with her blond hair and blue eyes. Well, I think her eyes were blue, I never got close enough to her to find out and the yearbook photos were all in black and white.
A few weeks before the end of the school year the Westwood Whirlwind yearbook came out and I bought a copy. The yearbook staff consisted mostly of the same group of popular kids that were in the student government with beautiful blue eyed Becky as the editor. There were a few that were not on the Student Council, one being an art director, my friend Brent, a small, odd kid who was part of our rocket group.
The yearbook had the usual categories in which the 9th graders voted on, again with same group of popular kids in the student government and on the yearbook staff winning. There was the Wittiest, Most Likely to Succeed, Friendliest, I was disappointed that Becky didn’t get Most Attractive although the girl that did was very cute, but Becky did get Personality Plus. There was another category, Best All-Round which was selected by the teachers which went to the president and treasurer of the Student Council.
There was a group of guys that I hung out with during school and sometimes after school, Jimmy Carpenter who I knew since Littlewood, my long time friend Hank Weaver although I saw less of him in 9th grade, Ed, Lee, Paul and Bill who became my best friend. Most of the guys were what would years later be called nerds. There were some new friends I made in 9th grade like Mike Ponzio who signed my yearbook in the smallest of letters “Mike Ponzio was here”. Mike was a very likable guy, while I was tall and lanky, Mike was short and stocky. While in PE class I did fairly well in long distance running events, Mike was the champion of sprints and dashes. A memorable thing about Mike is that he is missing two fingers on his right hand, his ring finger and middle finger, but that never seemed to bother him, even at his 70th birthday he made a joke about it. I heard several different explanations how he lost the fingers but none from Mike himself. As far as girls went, well I d
id not have any girlfriends, or even friends that were girls, there were a few I had a crush on at one time or another, fewer still that I actually had the courage to talk to.
A custom at Westwood was at the end of the school year was the Roman Banquet and Olympics. Organized and run by the Junior Classical League, the 9th graders dressed up in Roman togas and held mock Olympic events like chariot races, foot races and gladiator battles, while the whole school stood on the sidelines watching, after which there was a banquet in the school cafeteria. Mike Ponzio’s being in the Junior Classical League may have been the initial spark for him many years later writing historical novels based in Roman times.