Who owns you?

As most of you know, the high school I went to was named after my family. This, along with having been in the first graduating class, has made me feel a deep connection and intimacy with the school.

One thing I’ve been struck by since moving back to Houston is the notion of ownership over the school.  Everyone involved feels some type of ownership–that it’s theirs.  In fact, the school laid a foundation for a shared ownership from day 1, involving the students and community in basic and essential decisions.

Since it’s been 5 years since I graduated, and the school has grown far beyond what it was in my day, most often people are unaware of my relationship to the school.  When this happens, their claim of ownership threatens me because it feels like my own is being taken away from me.  It’s hard for me to not feel immediate resentment or become territorial when my claim is not recognized.

Even so, it is a very good thing that so many people feel connected to it and work to be a part of it. That is what we always wanted the school to become.

With this said, I have also seen a downside to all this ownership–that some parents have an extreme deference to all things Emery/Weiner. Emery does this, Emery does that, we have to do it before the seniors go to Israel, we have to check Emery’s schedule…people are obsessed with this school!  It’s as if the school can do no wrong and Emery/Weiner must be revered.  It actually frustrates me quite a bit.  I don’t like that one institution has so much power. That only breeds resentment and abuse of said power.

Now that the school has become something greater and different than the school that I helped to build, I struggle with my ownership of it.  Do I own something that doesn’t exist anymore?

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