Academic journal article Education Next

Broken on the Court: When the All-Boy Band Visited the All-Girl School

Academic journal article Education Next

Broken on the Court: When the All-Boy Band Visited the All-Girl School

Article excerpt

Two worlds collided today. Fortunately, only a stereotype broke during the impact. I teach at the only all-girl middle school in Oakland, California, Julia Morgan School for Girls. And today, during Monday morning assembly, the girls listened to the only all-boy choir from the only all-boy middle school in Oakland, Pacific Boychoir Academy. Boy bands of yore, from the Beatles to the Backstreet Boys, would be proud of their young progeny and of the raucous show they put on.


Before school this morning, excited groups of girls had huddled together in our hallowed halls of academia, where emphasis is placed on math and science. Much to the faculty's chagrin, the girls were not philosophizing about Homer or discussing Euclidian geometry. Nor were they even whispering the usual fare: how cute the cast of "Survivor" is or how the Bachelorette picked the wrong hopeful. Instead, despite the faculty's best effort to keep that day's concert a secret, the word was out: boys were on their way.

Give Me an X!

And arrive they did, boys outfitted in matching white shoes, baggy khaki pants, green polo shirts, and oversized, floppy Santa hats. They even brought a foreign-exchange student to add that mysterious bad-boy flavor. His brooding presence helped elevate the girls' excitement to a code-level red, which, in middle-school concert-speak, translates into "extreme risk of screaming once the boys start to sing."

As the bandmaster readied his young charges, an audible "ahhhhhhh" echoed throughout the hall as the smallest member of the band, the requisite cute one, wearing the biggest floppy Santa hat, stepped forward and belted out the opening solo. The boys held all the eyes, ears, and hearts of the girls, as they sang and semi-gyrated their way to middle-school stardom.

After numerous encores, the boys ended their set, and the girls wanted answers: "How old are you and you and you? …

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