Sunday, November 27, 2022

Baby Remember Her Name

We sat, on that day in the mid 1960's, in our Bronx junior high auditorium, in an assembly to find out our fates.

We had taken entrance exams to specialized high schools.  Today, we would find out if we had made any of those schools, or if we would be attending our local high school.

At that time, there were a number of specialized high schools one could apply to by entrance exams and/or auditions.  The Bronx High School of Science (which I attended), Stuyvesant High School, Brooklyn Technical High School, the High School of Music and Art, and the High School of the Performing Arts, were some of them.

One by one, our names were called.

My ninth grade graduating class was big, as were most all classes in New York City.  There were hundreds of us, and it was impossible to know everyone in the room.  But, we knew there were a couple of us who were talented - quite talented - in the performing arts.  One boy, in fact, already had had some small roles on television, if I remember correctly.  

At the assembly, we found out he received acceptance to the High School of the Performing Arts.

What happened once he went on to high school is unknown to me.  But many of us later enjoyed a fictionalize version of the High School of the Performing Arts, first through the 1980 movie Fame, and later through a TV series of the same name.

The movie followed eight students through their initial auditions and life in the high school.

One of the actresses in the movie was Bronx born Irene Cara, who played student Coco Hernandez.  Irene Cara started her acting career young, appearing on The Electric Company.  Cara also sang the theme song for the movie Fame.  In 1983 Cara co wrote and sang the theme song to the movie Flashdance, and had a career as actress and singer.

On November 25, Irene Cara passed away at the age of 63  At this time, the cause of death is unknown.


Flashdance What a Feeling.

Gone too soon, her name will be remembered.


  1. ...we had little or no choice of the high school we went to.

    1. Same here, but NYC has specialty high schools where you have to apply for admission. Most students go to their neighborhood high school, but others …my mother went to Hunter High School, a public school which was connected to Hunter College. Later she attended Hunter College.

      Interestingly there’s a performing arts high school on Long Island. Students take their academic subjects in the neighborhood high school, but then take a bus to the performing arts school and take acting, dance, etc. A few years ago the school was on the verge of closing, until they got a rather large donation from Billy Joel. Yes, that Billy Joel …

  2. The songs are so nostalgic for me! Thank you for the showing the tunes

  3. I heard of her passing yesterday. Stunned. I did not know performing arts high schools were actually a thing. I guess it's about location.

    1. In New York we have something called BOCES — Board of Cooperative Education Services. It’s when school districts pool their resources to provide special services, e.g., a school for severely disabled students. On Long Island BOCES sponsors the high school for the arts. It’s sort of modeled after the famous one in NYC.

  4. We had to go to our local school, but there were so many more choices for classes, not just electives, than now. When my daughter was going into high school (from home school) there was one at the other end of town with a performing arts academy. She got accepted, but went to the one near us anyway. She ended up leaving after a year and a half and taking the state proficiency exam anyway. What a student is "good at" (based on the tests you mentioned) may not be what they want to do! Or, want to do a few years into the specialized high school.

  5. I heard about her passing on news. I start school in mid 60. Her and I was the same age


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