During the summer of 1967 (the “Summer of Love”) between sixth and seventh grades, one of my best friends disappeared, with his parents telling me that “He’ll never be back.” I didn’t know what that meant at the time, but now I know that his parents sent him off to a military academy in San Antonio, Texas. He’s a big-time banker in San Antonio now, so I guess he actually never did go back to our home town!
When I was up in North San Diego County a couple of weeks ago visiting the San Pasqual Battlefield State Park for my San Diego Historical Landmark series (see here), I found the San Pasqual Academy.
I am always interested in schools because they educate the population. Notwithstanding how many Republicans would prefer the populace to be ignorant sheep doing what they say…. So I just zipped right on by that sign, through a huge orange grove, and onto the campus. Nowhere did I find any signs telling me that it was private property and for yo-yos to stay away.
So I was driving around campus taking pictures of the beautiful buildings in a beautiful setting….
….when I see a woman waving at me from a doorway….
What do you think I did?
Well, I was born and raised in South Texas—I’m a pretty laid-back, friendly person—so I waved back. That seemed to infuriate her. She came running out to my car and yelling at me. I stopped to see what the problem was. It was Sunday morning, so maybe there was an emergency that I could help with.
She informed me that the Academy was private property and that I couldn’t take pictures. I apologized and told her I would leave. Then I asked her what the Academy was. She said, “It’s an Academy.”
“Well I know that! You can’t tell me what it does?” I asked. She sneered at me and told me to leave. “I’m leaving! I have to go do a Google search on San Pasqual Academy.” She sneered again and pointed towards the exit.
Yes, Google was informative, especially since it pointed me directly to San Pasqual Academy’s very own web site. Not so private after all….
Before I tell you about the Academy, here are a few more pictures that I took before she flagged me down to sneer at me:
So, then, what is San Pasqual Academy? From their very own web site:
San Pasqual Academy is a first-in-the-nation residential education campus designed specifically for foster teens. The Academy is located in Escondido, CA and provides foster teens with a stable, caring home, a quality, individualized education, and the skills needed for independent living.
The Academy opened in October 2001 and currently has a capacity to serve 184 youth.
The 238-acre campus features individual family-style homes, an on-site, accredited high school, a cafeteria, a technology and career information center, an auditorium, recreation fields, a gymnasium, a Health and Wellness Center, a Day Rehabilitation Clinic, and a swimming pool. The San Pasqual Fire Department is also on the campus and provides internship opportunities for the youth.
Teens live and learn at the Academy, as they prepare for college and/or a career path.
So why was it so hard for her to tell me? Is there something about foster teens that I don’t know about? Heck, I’ve spent 48 years volunteering my time and money to charitable organizations. If she had told me even half of what I found on their web site, I would have volunteered on the spot. As it is, she’s lost whatever volunteer time and charity money I might have been able to give the Academy…. And I feel so sorry for those foster teens if she’s an indication of what they have to put up with there.
Need a unique gift?
Marriage? Anniversary? Birthday? Special event?
Choose Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos