Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Hughes High: Extra Curricular

While Hughes High did not have sports teams, they did have something unique to the school that most of the jocks at my school would have gladly been covered in toxic waste to try and join. While winning the state championship might get someone on the front page of the sports section, being part of a school-sponsored super team gets them on the Tonight Show. The school had no shortage of both official and unofficial teams, not to mention several heroes working together on Big League teams around the world.

When Hughes High was still know as Project: Superyouth, most of the teams were formed as necessary and dissolved just as quickly. When Principal Dorcas took over the school, he formalized the process a bit. School-sanctioned teams required the sponsorship of a faculty member. While the faculty assumed responsibility for the team's actions, that didn't stop teams from ending up with a tongue lashing from the principal.

Unsanctioned teams were often pressured into finding a sponsor on staff. While ad hoc teams were generally forgiven for operating outside school, ones that seemed to continue to work together often got more trouble from the students. Some captains of Varsity took it upon themselves to 'punish' unsanctioned teams, while the unsanctioned teams often saw the sanctioned teams as a perfect example of why they didn't want to be official in the first place. The conflict between school ties and teenage friendships often caused problems that spilled out into the streets.

One of the advantages of being sanctioned was that the administration of the school generally came down on that side even if the sanctioned group had started the trouble. Unsanctioned teams often had to peddle for support amongst the cape community. Some heroes preferred operation on their own, as it was often a baptism of fire to the trials and tribulations capes go went through in their public lives.

The most famous sanctioned team was Varsity. Varsity was generally sponsored by whomever is considered the most senior staff member. This was often a point of contention amongst the staff members themselves. The team traditionally was made of two squads of 4. One squad, usually with the most popular members, was considered the main squad, and the other squad was considered the back up squad. While a few members resented being on the backup squad, most were just grateful to get a spot. Having a spot on Varsity virtually guaranteed a minimum of one year on a major superteam. Most of the members were juniors or seniors, with sophomores a rarity and freshmen unheard of.

On the other end of the spectrum was Detention. This team, while sponsored by a teacher, was thought to have been overseen by Principal Dorcas himself. It had a very unstable membership base, as it was generally made up of students that had fouled up elsewhere and were often sent on extra missions as punishment. Detention was primarily used in the defense of Hughes High, but also was sent on missions no other student wanted, such as the protection of "Senator Albright" during his campaign for the RSHHA.

Other teams came and went. Some of them were formed by the friendships that come from high school. Some were formed by faculty looking to get out of the office and crack some heads again. Two of the more active teams I remember from my youth were The Silver Sentinels and Hecate's Heroes.

Silverwing started the Sentinels his freshmen year and for a while, they were rivals with Varsity in terms of popularity and effectiveness. When the team suddenly disbanded, rumors flew ranging from one too many clashes with Squire to a falling out between Silverwing and Krush Groove. Groove would go on to form the Street Sentinels, an unsanctioned team clearly modeled on his previous team. When I interviewed him for his spotlight article, I asked Silverwing if this was one of the things that led to his retirement as a cape. "No," he said, "but I often wonder if things with Squire would have been different if we would have talked more with our brains than our fists."

Hecate's Heroes were an all mystical team, generally sponsored by the Mystics faculty member. The name originally stemmed from a joke in the Muellerburg Sentinel referring to Hecate in a manner similar to Col. Klink from Hogan's Heroes. The press was leaning heavily upon mystic heroes, and Hecate claimed to be unaware of the shady dealings going on within the OTH involving Watergate. She started the team that would bear her name both to give a positive focal point for mystic activity, as well as to teach mystic heroes that they were protecting a world that often didn't want their protection. After her death at the hands of the Seventh Sorceror, the team kept the name in honor of her.

Next week, I'll talk about some of the most famous adversaries of Hughes High students, including its most infamous unsanctioned teams; The Dropouts.