Where You Should've Gone to High School

Where You Should've Gone to High School

Like residents of every city, St. Louisans have their quirks that must be explained to outsiders: their fondness for Provel cheese, for one, or their use of the word "hoosier" to mean anybody with three teeth, a pickup and a mullet instead of a person from Indiana.

But the habit that seems to perplex newcomers the most is the eternal question, "So, where'd you go to high school?" Nobody's entirely sure how the custom began, but it's now a topic worthy of academic study: Sarah VanSlette, who once attended St. Joseph's Academy but who is now a professor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, has received a grant from the Institute for Urban Research to study the experiences of newcomers to St. Louis, including whether the high school question is giving the region a bad reputation.

A story that ran in the local daily last week about VanSlette and her research set loose a shitstorm of controversy. Defenders of The Question claimed that it's just small talk and a way to identify common acquaintances, a useful tool in a town where everyone is separated by only one or two degrees.

Others, however, saw in the The Question more sinister intentions. It's all stereotyping, they carped. It's just another way for people to judge you (as if they're not already checking out your shoes or the make of your car)! And worst of all, if you're a transplant, it singles you out and makes you an ideal target for shunning.

Well, if that's what you're worried about, Riverfront Times is here to help! Just answer a few simple questions, and this handy-dandy flow chart will lead you to where you should've gone to high school if you didn't, you know, go to high school somewhere else. We can't promise you it'll lead you to your own high school sweetheart or a group of friends that will be just as loyal as they would've been if you'd really known them since ninth grade, but hey — at least you'll have a better idea of your people.

A disclaimer: This chart is, of course, based on gross stereotypes, but isn't that part of what the high school question is about?

To see the flow chart and find out where you should've gone to high school, download the PDF here.
 
My Voice Nation Help
135 comments
akira4
akira4

It is not just a St. Louis thing. They do the same where'd you go to HS thing in Hawaii too and they think it is a Hawaii thing.  It happens in places with a small town feel.  Bet none you haole's been asked that in HI cause you look like tourists. 

guest
guest

If the question has to do with location wouldn't it make more sense to ask which Walmart you grew up next to, then everyone in the world can play.  Mine is the sh*tty on Florissant road where people get knifed all the time.  Now thankfully I live by the one on Laclede Station Rd. ...where people get knifed all the time.  Just kidding people don't get knifed in St. Louis, just shot.

guest
guest

From a  CBC grad...nailed it.

 BADA BiNG

Brian Blood
Brian Blood

It took me to my school Webster Groves !!!

Joe
Joe

If I ask someone that question I must be an anti=Obama racist and a homophobe as well as not smart enough to read crap like RFT.

Evil Deb
Evil Deb

That's odd my high school wasn't on the chart. I wonder why. By the way it was Ritenour in Overland.

Mary Lutkewitte
Mary Lutkewitte

This is sooooo St. Louis - be sure and look at the chart -

WGHS
WGHS

I love this conversation, I just can't help but wonder... Has anyone here done anything SINCE high school?

Splicedragon
Splicedragon

I too live in Chicago and that IS not a question asked. The Chicagoans don't get why we ask that question.

Guest
Guest

I know why St Elizabeth Academy isn't on the chart; it's because it's so far down the list that to most people it doesn't count. And I say this as an SEA grad. When I went to college in another state, I was introduced to another student from the St Louis area-Clayton HS. When she asked me "the question" and I answered honestly, she quietly replied, "ohhh." And that was that, not another word was spoken. I didn't make the cut, as it were. My roommate later remarked "Wtf was that about?" Poor girl didn't understand the St. Louis way of putting you in your place.

Gruntled Postal Worker
Gruntled Postal Worker

A "real" Hoosier asks "where'd you go to school at?" With a preposition at the end.

Workgingwaterfront
Workgingwaterfront

LOVE this. Thank you....I now can back up my "Hoosier" references to my husband with this article. Actually, he's probably better off not knowing how mean that is...nevermind!

Mimi22
Mimi22

They've got it ALL WRONG. I don't know who the interviewer is talking to but, once again, let's go to the REAL source. This question started by being asked by Afro-Americans to one another. Many, as recently as 4 generations ago, were 1st generation graduates of high school. At a time when struggles just to get your child INTO school for a high school education, the proud parents and students used this question 2-fold. One to identify school "family" ties with pride and common-ness and two, to connect the individual with neighborhood and other blood relatives since many were decendants of recent slaves it was a way to find relatives ( by who knew who.)

Bedrosi
Bedrosi

I can't believe that Sarah VanSlette is getting a grant to study this. It's a shame how easy it is to get grant money for things that are so unimportant in our society.

Sarah Coleman
Sarah Coleman

Where is Trinity on the flow chart? It was the merger of Aquinas-Mercy and Rosary. Guess you didn't want to touch the "white flight" issue with a ten foot nun-wielding ruler?

Randall
Randall

Hey where is Ritenour?

MP
MP

Bayless. Many more Bosnians there.

Jeremy Nelson
Jeremy Nelson

Apparently if you live in IL you aren't part of "St. Louis"

Robert Huskey
Robert Huskey

I always took the question "Where did you go to high school?" as a way to see what part of the city the person lived in. I grew up here before all the bussing begain. Most people went to the public schools closest to thier homes then and from there to the closest high school.

Bvguse
Bvguse

Too damned funny. I grew up in STL. I now live in the DC 'burbs now. The day my husband and I moved into our new home in the 'burbs we noticed that our neighbors had a "west-end wax" bumper sticker on their Volvo. I introduced myself and asked, are you by chance from St. Louis? After receiving an affirmative response the next words out of both our mouths, in unison, were, "what high school did you go to." Answers: Lutheran South (me); Cor Jesu (neighbor). Despite the high school rivalry, we are great neighbors and share gooey butter cake and Gus' pretzels whenever we go home for visits.

Motheroftwocoolnerds
Motheroftwocoolnerds

Living in NJ now but will always answer Ursuline. My sister told me to look at this and I have promptly laughed my ass off for 10 minutes straight. Well done!!

NRM0620
NRM0620

Funny there are so many schools missing. I also find it odd that the woman who put this together never included her own High School. Love the whole concept, to bad it is not complete.

xmo2rep
xmo2rep

SusieQ....perhaps over the last couple of decades the question has been shortened to just "school" but in over 50 plus years I have never asked (or heard it asked) as just where did you go to school. It was always specific, "So, where did you go to High School?"

Ls2010
Ls2010

Everyone keeps posting this on Facebook, and I'm dying to put a big circle around these flow charts and write - oh well, you'll all end up at Mizzou just like the rest of us. My high school is supposed to have no money and have parties in houses in the woods? And the school my brothers go to means our family has a maid and butler?? Sorry, I'm not bitter or anything... but maybe I am a little bit. Seriously, its time for St. Louis to grow up!In light of this article, I'm proud to say I'm a graduate of Marquette High School, class of 2006, and the University of Notre Dame, class of 2010.

Blaine
Blaine

It's centered mainly on white people, though there are lots of black people at many of the Catholic, non-Catholic private and public schools listed. But when U City is linked by "your parents are interested in historic preservation" etc. it's clear it's not black folks the chart was thinking about.

Robin Tidwell
Robin Tidwell

Lighten up. It's funny, and spot-on. No one's using it for a dissertation or anything. Sheesh.

elizabethcostello
elizabethcostello

Burroughs has the highest ACT scores in St. Louis. Don't believe me, believe Saint Louis Magazine (it's quoted on Wikipedia too). Let's just say MICDS isn't second (Priory and SLUH come next...)

elizabethcostello
elizabethcostello

Villa was on there, as was Visitation, Nerinx, and Rosati-Cain. But yes, a lot of the girls' Catholic schools were left off. Also no Chaminade.

They should have added for the Catholic girls: Do you live in the suburbs - yes --> Are you very athletic? - Cor Jesu ; Are you rich - yes: Villa & Viz; sorta - St. Joe's; Depends on how you define sorta - Ursuline; No - Incarnate word.

For the boys' Catholic schools, to include Chaminade, it should have said - Does your family have a personal staff - no: SLUH; yes --> Will you score at least 1400 on your SATs - yes: Saint Louis Priory; no: Chaminade. That would have put Chaminade, SLUH and Priory all in the same cluster where they belong.

elizabethcostello
elizabethcostello

Yes, where were Chaminade, Ursuline, St. Joe's, Incarnate Word, Kennedy, Trinity, etc.? A lot of Catholic schools were left off that first chart. Why?

Rachkee
Rachkee

When I ask the question, it is only to find out if there is common link between the person and myself. It has nothing to do with stereotypes.

Cyn
Cyn

I can't believe that a grant was issued for such an inane topic. Why is this research important? No wonder the country is broke.

Mallsup75
Mallsup75

What about "Bell Vegas" ? Who knows what that means? Might as well be from Nebraska. And if your parents paid for Althoff still no prestige.. "bell Vegas" for you too!

TheDude
TheDude

This is a common question heard in places that don't experience much population in-flux from other parts of the country. You never hear this question in big cities.

Danielle Ehrhard
Danielle Ehrhard

With an attitude and cynical mind like you have, I'm not surprised no one likes you. Take your east coast attitude and shove it. This town is amazing.

Tom R
Tom R

While amused by the chart and agree we're all drinking a bit of the STL cool aid how on earth does a social scientist (oxymoron) get tax dollars (IUS is a federally funded operation) to find out if people or happy or sad to be asked about what school they attended? Makes me want to work harder and earn more so I can give it away to wonderfully insightful studies such as these!

stlreader
stlreader

I grew up in Des Moines. NO ONE cares where you went to high school.

KMD
KMD

Incarnate Word is missing as well

And Chaminade for boys...

Jackie
Jackie

Flow chart was fairly accurate, except missing major schools on it. I'm just confused on why Lutheran South and North are in the same slot. they are polar opposites!

Jrkanerva
Jrkanerva

St. Louisans are not the only askers of this question. This question is also asked in Cincinnati. Therefore, when asked in St. Louis I answer "Walnut Hills" and get odd looks in return.

JCR
JCR

If you read the article in the paper and not online the cover is a picture of a dozen or so hs rings on display. When you open to the article there is an image of one ring enlarged. A SLUH ring. Interesting choice. The boys/men who attend the U High are taught from the moment they step foot on campus where they go to school and whether they are 15 or 85 the answer to the "question" will be "I went to 'the High School'".

dotred1
dotred1

Pattonville was not on the list how odd is that?

Eben
Eben

They're inverses of each other. One's in North County, the other in South County. Both are faith-centered Protestant schools, but not ultra-religious like Westminster. Lutheran North is good at football, basketball and track & field, Lutheran South at soccer, hockey and baseball.

Diane Seufert Williams
Diane Seufert Williams

I went to Nerinx Hall High School - Webster Groves, Mo. My family is from Cincinnati and you are so right! Both are old cities and very class structured so when asked "Where did you go to High School?" you immediatly judge that person and think you know everything about their socio-economic / family background. Most of the time it is correct but not always. All I know is that my longest lasting friends are my high school friends. There are a bunch of us that not only stay in touch but we travel together and meet in St. Louis as often as we can. When there is something tragic happening we are always there for each other. My family in Cincinnati has had the same type of experience after going to Catholic schools. I now live in Atlanta, a relativly new city w/ many transients. There is a shortage of Catholic schools here and it shows. I would not trade my four years at Nerinx for anything and if I had a daughter and still lived in St. Louis I would urge her to go there as all of my friends have done.Diane WilliamsNerinx Hall Hottie

MWL
MWL

As one of three brothers who graduated from SLUH I can say with certainty that none of us were ever once taught that. However, after reading your comment I now plan to call it "the High School" whenever I refer to it. many thanks!

michele235
michele235

@dotred1 neither are worth mentioning... just kidding.  Chamanade wasn't on there either. 


 
St. Louis Concert Tickets
Loading...