Monday, May 22, 2006

Hughes High: Property Of Principal Dorcas

The school jacket is an important part of everyone's closet. Most of us haven't touched it since senior year (though I remember seeing them on the backs of a few college freshmen when I went to school). I still have my letter jacket, which I got for, of all things, debate. I remember the coolest guy at my school my junior year had merely bought his letter jacket. Of course, it was from Hughes High.

In 1983, Ronald Reagan announced plans for what he called the Superhuman Defense Initiative. SDI, as the media would refer to it, put the defense of the USA from a Russian-fueled nuclear attack in the hands of our superheroes. Billions of dollars were spent trying to figure out how capes ticked, and just as much was likely spent trying to create more. Reagan poured money into anything superhuman related.

A lot of people disagreed with this plan. Some didn't like it because it seemed like a tacit approval of costumed vigilantism. Some were upset that social programs were cut in favor of trying to make people that could throw cars at enemy soldiers or punch ICBMs back towards Moscow. The plan took heavy fire during the Seventh Sorceror Scandal, even though the administration did everything it could to outline that its programs had nothing to do with mystics.

Strangely, one of the programs that didn't suckle on the tax dollar teat was the recently renamed Miranda Hughes High. Hughes High was partially funded by tax dollars, but the majority of tax monies went to the training and funding of GUARD personnel. Hughes High was one of the first superhero organization to realize that there was gold in the tights. The merchandising of Hughes High began in 1977, and it took off like a rocket. The original offering of jackets, hats, and the usual school paraphernalia was soon augmented by lunch boxes, action figures, and even a short-lived Saturday morning cartoon. Who would have guessed that the marketing genius behind the blitz that inspired George Lucas was a round balding man that didn't even own a television?

Arnold Dorcas found inspiration when he was antiquing. "I was always disgusted with how much superhero memorabilia outsold actual antiques," said Dorcas, 63, now working with the Department of Education. "A fine Victorian desk sits in the corner and gathers dust, but put a manhole cover in your shop and claim Pendragon threw it at a VIPER getaway vehicle and buyers are falling all over themselves to get it."

Dorcas worked his way up through the Muellerburg School Board as an efficient administrator. He came to Hughes High in 1972 when Mayor Mueller wanted some local personnel to keep an eye on all the capes, feds, GUARDsmen, and kids that were now coming to the school from around the world. He quickly moved up in the ranks thanks to his knowledge of local politics and shrewd bookkeeping. While other schools struggled for funding, Dorcas handled the ugly task of keeping the school running. Dr. Hughes provided a face to present to the public.

"Dr. Hughes was a brilliant scientist and I admired her greatly," said Dorcas. "But she also understood that you needed the right tool for the right job, and that's what I was." Dorcas took over as principal of of the high school in 1981, shortly after the disappearance of Dr. Hughes.
He held the post until shortly before the school's closure.

Most people consider the memorabilia sales to be his greatest contribution to the Hughes High legacy, but Dorcas disagrees. "I'm most proud of my tenure as principal," said Dorcas. "I was allowed to shape the minds and destinies of some of our best and brightest young people. They might not have thought so at the time, but the discipline and rules I put in place helped them develop themselves both as heroes, but, more importantly, as people."