I’m starting the ninth grade in a couple of weeks, and my new school doesn’t allow sandals or open-toed shoes. My mom won’t let me wear heels to school, and my tennis shoes and ballet flats are boring. What’s popular right now?Haley

Manolo says oh, the Manolo remembers his own first day at Our Lady of the Flaming Spleen Country Day School (whose motto remains “The Wrathful Word Turneth Away Evil”).

The day began with the young Manolo strolling onto campus late, just as Sister Assumpta was chasing the tardy students from the schoolyard, welding her yardstick as if she were Samson slaying Philistines. The Manolo still bears the marks of that first lesson in punctuality!

Of the course, it was not all fun at OLFSCDS. Education always took precedence over sporting teams. Indeed, who could forget the time Eduardo Castro, our greatest competitor, failed the algebra test and was suspended from our rosary team, just as we were about to compete for the regional championships against our cross-town rival, Holy Relic?

It was then that the Manolo, who had been “riding the pine” all season, was put into the starting lineup. And, in the moment of supreme triumph, he helped bring home the trophy with his flawless rendition of the most difficult Fatima Decade!

What is in this year? Strangely, it is the Sperry Top-Sider! Here is the Angelfish in linen and oat ($75, Zappos.com).

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