The graduating members of the 1987 senior class, boys dressed in maroon gowns and girls dressed in white ones, marched down the aisles of Constitution Hall and took their seats in 12 reserved rows. Their parents and friends sat behind them and above them, leafing through the official program that marked the 87th annual commencement for McKinley High School.
The program included the following "Class Statistics:"
College, 162 students or 63 percent;
Business or Trade School, 28 students or 11 percent;
Full-Time Work, 22 students or 8 percent;
Part-Time Work/College, 27 students or 10 percent;
Apprenticeships, 5 students or 2 percent;
Police Cadet Training Program, 3 students or 1 percent;
Military Service, 12 students or 5 percent.
TOTAL CLASS, 259 students.
Several teachers were surprised to learn that 63 percent of the seniors were college-bound.
Beulah Smith, who was responsible for mailing grade transcripts to colleges last year, said a few hours before the ceremony that she had sent transcripts for only 105 students; nearly all colleges require such transcripts for admission.
Why the discrepancy? Because the "statistics" were the results of an informal questionnaire distributed to seniors and additional information from guidance counselors, said Deidre Cheeks, a school aide who collected the figures.
The 63 percent figure was misleading in another way. There were 287 graduates, not 259, from a senior class that had 360 students at the beginning of the year.