Monday, August 30, 2010

Central High School: 9th Grade English Class

I entered The Central High School of Philadelphia in September 1967.  Central is a selective school for academically-talented students.  My ninth grade English teacher was Elliott Cades.   Mr. Cades was in his 60s, he had a law degree and served in Japan in the JAG corps after World War II.  He had been a fixture at Central for years.  He was a demanding teacher.  He was known among the student body as "Ming the Merciless."

I remember the first thing he said on the first day of class.  "Did all of you get into Central through regular channels?  If you got into Central through some special program, then you need to tell your counselor that you'll have to transfer out of my class.  You won't be able to compete in my class if you didn't meet the standard entrance requirements for this school."

I wonder if fellow student, Elliott Feldman can remember the first day in Mr. Cades' class.  Mr. Cades handed out copies of Rudyard Kipling's book Captains Courageous.  Feldman sat next to me throughout the school year.

Feldman and Michael Shapiro, M.D. were the only students in the class to receive a grade of A throughout the school year.  I earned C's throughout the school year.  But then, I was a premorbid psychotic.


Gary Freedman said...

James Kahn, the 230th class representative, was in Mr. Cades' class.

Gary Freedman said...

Mr. Cades died in 1986 at age 83.

Gary Freedman said...

I believe I learned more in Mr. Cades' English class than in any other English class at Central.