About 50 Montgomery County real estate brokers were guests for a breakfast at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School yesterday at which school officials told the brokers that the BCC neighborhood is a good place to live.
"We think you're pretty important people," a nervous Principal Carl Smith announced to the brokers, who have been accused at times of steering prospective home buyers away from an area.
"People coming in new to this area are going to seek you out first and some of the first questions they are going to ask you are about the schools," a gray-suited Smith said solemnly as the housing salespersons eagerly devoured fresh fruit salad, smoked sausages, baked eggs cut in squares and homemade rolls. "We want you to be able to say we're in good health and in good shape."
Although no direct reference was made in the speeches about steering home buyers away or future school closings, it was clear that the purpose of the unusual meeting was to assure the guests that the school has retained its academic prowess.
One of the brokers, Griffin Holland, a 1940 graduate of BCC, said the school had "a terrible reputation during the Vietnam War. There was a lot of unrest, and there have been drug problems there."
Other recent concerns have included the closings of three junior high and four elementary feeder schools in the last two years and a decision -- later reversed by the state board of education -- to close Rosemary Hills Elementary, a symbol of voluntary integration efforts in the community.
It was also clear that the shadow of neighboring Walt Whitman High, nationally acclaimed for its academic reputation, towered over the morning proceedings as Smith called upon the school's top brass to sell his good-shape message. There was the news that BCC tied for second this year among Montgomery schools in the number of National Merit Scholar semifinalists and commended students; that enrollment was 180 more than projected, and that graduates in the 1981 class were going to Harvard, Yale and Princeton.
"We want you to sell houses here," Smith concluded in his address to the brokers, who also are feeling the pinch of hard times.
"God, we'd like to sell them anywhere," answered Susan Schuck.