No girls, lots of camaraderie among Livorno High's six seniors
March 30, 2003
Spring is just around the corner, and that means it’s time for American high school students to think about the prom.
Choosing whom to go with could pose problems for many seniors, but not for those at Livorno High School on Camp Darby, Italy. There are six senior boys this year at the school. And not one single (or attached) senior girl.
“Sometimes we come to school just to see if we’ve gotten a senior girl [transferring in],” jokes Adam Uddin, the student body president.
No luck this year.
The class did grow by two seniors during the course of the school year. Zak Maier became a senior by compiling enough credits through summer classes. And Kyle Johnson transferred in from Louisiana in October.
Johnson, whose high school in the States had a student body that was several times Livorno’s enrollment of 29, became a celebrity of sorts when he enrolled. And a target of suspicion.
“We heard you were in all AP [advanced placement] classes,” Uddin confronted him at the time.
“What’s AP?” was Johnson’s response.
“Cool,” said Maier, who liked that answer. It effectively meant that he still had class valedictorian spot locked up.
Patricia Coffey, the school’s counselor, said it’s been an interesting experience for the seniors this year. And not just because there aren’t any girls.
“They’re six guys, and they’re all incredibly different in their own rights,” she said.
“But they’re all really accepting of each other. I’ve watched their personalities change a lot this year. All for the better.”
The guys admit that they’d be unlikely to hang out together at larger schools. They have different interests. Some are more into sports than others, though at a school the size of Livorno, just about everyone needs to take the field for there to be a team.
Still, the school’s boys basketball team had one of its most successful seasons, narrowly losing a couple of games in Aviano at the end of the year that could have sent it to the Division III European championship tournament in Germany.
And, to Christian Garcia’s delight, the school will be able to field a soccer team this spring.
“We haven’t had a soccer team here for a long time,” Principal Cathy Magni said.
But it’s taken some girls to help fill out a roster — which was not the case when Garcia played on his American and German teams in Vilseck.
That proves there are some girls at the school. There are three in the seven-member junior class.
And now, thanks to an invitation from Vicenza High School, all those in both classes will have a chance to party at a prom with other people their ages. In early May, all six of the senior boys will make the three-hour trip to Vicenza to attend the dinner and dancing at the Villa Tachi.
Only one of them, Sammy Ayer, will be bringing a date (a junior from Livorno).
Ayer, acting on behalf of his classmates, offered to provide his cell phone number for this article in case any senior girls enrolled at other schools in Europe wanted to attend the prom with one of his Livorno classmates.
He’s the only senior who says he doesn’t think that having no girls in the class is a problem. Of course, he has to say that, his classmates say: “He’s got a girlfriend.”
Maier said they’ve met lots of students from other schools through sports, but added that it will be nice to see some other (female) faces in a social setting.
Classes at Livorno don’t offer that kind of variety.
“Not only is it all guys, but it’s the same guys,” Maier said, trying to affect a look of chagrin.
That’s led to a lack of debate in some of their classes. They laugh when recounting classes when female teachers took one side of an issue and met unanimous opposition.
“She doesn’t even try anymore,” Maier laughs, referring to one teacher.
Magni and Coffey said the school’s small size allows teachers to provide a lot more individual instruction than they would get at larger places.
That’s also got its drawbacks, Ayer jokes: “At my old school, they didn’t know if I wasn’t in class.”
Being small doesn’t mean there’s no school spirit. Before the homecoming celebration, Uddin bragged he was going to take four Italian girls — though he couldn’t remember one of their names. “It’s homecoming,” he said. “I want to go out with a bang.”
Recently most of the school was decked out in sleepwear as part of a theme day.
Bob Rios, wearing a robe over his underclothes, surprised his mother — who wasn’t aware of the dress theme — when she came to pick him up at school.
“What did you wear to school?” she asked him with a shocked expression.
His classmates, sitting around a table for a group interview, found that hilarious.
“Since we’re all males and there’s a lack of girls, we’re all one big family,” said Uddin — who is the only senior with a car and valid driver’s license. The whole senior class can fit in his car for road trips.
“Looking at it now, I don’t think I’d like to be in any other senior class. We’re going to remember this forever.”