The year-end edition of this year's Bolt Action student newspaper at Manual High School provides a window into the world of the next generation. It's not a pretty view. Gone, apparently, are the days when fellow students told one another to "Stay as sweet as you are" and when soon-to-be-graduates were "2 Good 2 Be 4 Got."
In this school newspaper, students refer to their classmates as "hoes," "pimps" and "n*ggas." Though some of the new graduates may not know much about the French they took, they're aces in dissin' each other.
Here then--in the form of "Last Wills and Testaments" and "Confessions" (all extracted from the year-end issue)--are words to live by from the Class of '97, the self-described "bombest class that has ever walked the halls of Manual." The names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.
On School Rival East High
"I will to you...a chance to beat up some of them playa hatin' East hoes."
"I will to you...boxing gloves to beat those East hoes down."
"I will to you...plenty of trips up to East we gonna get them one day."
"Besa mi culo, pendejo" (Kiss my ass, jerkoff).
On Race Relations
"Sandy has the biggest a** I've ever seen on a white girl."
"I will to you...the ability to talk like a white boy."
"Keep the brown sugar, baby."
"I will to you...the high school heavyweight championship so you can keep knockin' these n*ggas out."
"I will to...the Nasty Perverts Nigs--mo' females to get freaky wit."
On the Opposite Sex
"It's your turn to run these HOES."
"There is nothing in life I love better to do than leave a gang of nut on a wisdom tooth [receive fellatio]."
"I will to you...Melinda on her knees with her mouth open."
I will to you...a good girl who knows were [sic] to put it, if you know what I mean."
"I will to you...pimp of the year award, the ability to keep your hoes in check, a schimibbin', bliggidy session."
"I will to you...a key to a Motel 6 and a box of condoms."
"I will to you...some schlong."
"Stealing my dad's car and getting caught"
"Flashing bras in Susie's bug"
"30-year-old cocaine sniffin' women"
"Neverending spit games"
"Long Dong Silver movies"
"It is not a party without drunk tities [sic]."
Let Me Call You Sweetheart
"Susie has the bomb diggi when it comes to sex."
"Darla gets the realest hella coola I don't know but I think you're splendid award."
Best Wishes for the Future
"All the trains you can pull with your one-eyed jack."
"Common muthal*ckin sense."
"A hoe license since you're so good at it."
"A fifth of hen dog and some diegohoes to parlay wit."
"A land where mushrooms grow everywhere."
"A Subway that serves weed, man."
"A fat chronic sac [bag of marijuana] and a girl who is not a chicken head."
"Vodka...40oz...Miller...Ice 800's...tequila poppers...Dos XX...Coors Light."
"A 40oz. so you can get your purb on and act manish."
"A new cat because hers is worn out."
"I finally got schmibbed before graduation."
"I schmibbed Alicia."
"K.B.Y. robbed so many hoes of their virgities [sic]."
"Yes, I bouked Neal, don't trip I've had better."
"I let Tommy schmib in public (ha ha!)."
Teachers of the Year
"Mrs. J*** is a flake and doesn't know what she's doing. O ya and she sucks."
"Coach knew when I was twisted but was cool about it."
Words to the Wise
"Brenda is pitiful, scandalous and jealous, and will be forgotten as soon as she graduates 'cause she was nothing from the start."
"Kathy stopped being cool with me because she couldn't handle the competition--I ain't through with you yet."
"H.L., first of all, you are nothing but talk, trick, I got your number and if you bring the noise to me I'll rearrange your face 'cause you do need a face lift."
"I would also like everyone to know that I made Sheila what she is, know one [sic] knew her until she was with me and if you make something you can break it. I left you, you lost your mind and started letting everyone hit. I guess that's the effect a pimp has on a hoe."
"Johnny can't handle his liquor without becoming violent (personal experience)."
"I gotta say to Iris that you talk too much about somebody on a higher level than you. You need to shut that mouth, chick, and realize that me and Alfonse are running thangs this way, Big Momma."
On the Class of '98
"There aren't any dirty hoes in '97, they can all be found in '98."
"Take over the perverts and Manual, much love and hoes..."
And Now, a Parting Thought...
"The faster I get out of this bullsh*t society, the happier I will be."
The senior edition of Bolt Action "is not the typical paper," says Manual journalism advisor Nancy Menz, before passing the buck to principal Nancy Sutton.
Sutton, who became a regular reader of the paper after taking the helm at Manual last July, says she has taken pride in the paper and its staff. "The other newspapers have been some of the finest in years," she says. "The quality of writing has been really great. And then this came."
Apparently, says Sutton, the senior issue is a long-standing tradition, a special goodbye to the departing seniors. Sutton says she had never seen a senior issue prior to this one and didn't lay eyes on this year's issue until last week, after a group of teachers brought it to her attention. By that time, the paper had been out for several days.
The principal was not pleased.
"I think this newspaper is the result of a conflict in values," Sutton says, "and I would say that there will no longer be a senior issue. We try to respect things--the freedom of the press is very important--and we try to balance students' need to know about a world they're in with things that represent a positive view as far as school is concerned. But I don't think this is what the kids want and what the parents want. It just isn't right. I don't know what happened here."
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Sutton and Bernadette Seick, assistant superintendent for secondary education at Denver Public Schools, say they don't know if school funds were used to produce the special issue, which includes advertisements sold by student staffers. But Seick says the special issue was "inappropriate in either case." Her chief concern, she says, "is that a school publication would use that kind of language and send that kind of message."
In a written statement provided to Westword, Bolt Action editor Jill Lohmiller defends the decision to print the "wills and confessions" verbatim. "We, the Bolt Action staff, don't deny the allegations that some submissions to our senior edition were tasteless," Lohmiller writes. "However, it is our duty to respect the decision of the students to write such wills and confessions. Many of the references in the paper are, sadly, reflections of our society."
Principal Sutton says she hasn't yet received calls from parents upset about the paper. Indeed, Denver County Judge Kathleen Bowers--whose daughter was among Manual's graduating class (and who paid $30 for a congratulatory ad that appeared in the issue)--was relatively unfazed by the paper's content.
"Well," Bowers says, "high-school seniors are not known for tastefulness.