I went there in the early 80s. Let me see, the Journey Escape and Foreigner 4 albums had just been released, so I was there for the summer camp in 1981 and 82. I skipped a few years and then in 1985 I started going the full year until 1988.
How old were you?
I was 10 years old when I arrived and 18 years old when I left.
What was your first impression of the Delphian School?
I was a very young boy, so I was mesmerized and excited! Everything was new to me: the language, the food, the scenery, the customs and idiosyncrasy, and life in general. I had never been away from home, away from my family, and specially away from my mom who used to do everything for me up to that point in my life: wake me up in the morning, get me ready for school, fix my lunch, wash my clothes, cook my meals, make sure I did my homework, remind me to brush my teeth, take a shower, make my bed, go to bed early, etc.
The school campus was absolutely amazing – very big - forest and nature all around. During my time at the Delphian School I saw a lot of amazing animals like deer, hawks, raccoons, horses and even peacocks. If you ventured, you could pick wild blackberries, apples and plumbs; the only thing you had to watch out for was the poison oak and the thorns on the blackberry bushes. We had everything we required: clean bathrooms, hot water, heating during the winter (thanks to Jerry and Mike who worked the boiler room), nice dorms, a huge dining room, healthy and nutritious food, great classrooms, art rooms, music rooms, computer and science labs, a TV room, athletic fields, playgrounds (which were my favorite place at 10), a fantastic library and later on a fantastic Gym.
What about your teachers and classmates?
Fantastic! The whole staff was great, not only the teachers. I remember that all staff members (from the janitor to the cook) were all really nice and helpful, all of them focused on providing the best education possible for us and taking care of us as well.
About my classmates, I made really good friends who I still keep in touch with to this day and some others who I only see and follow on Facebook. I met kids from all over the world who had very different cultural, ideological and religious backgrounds than me, but that only enhanced the experience. During my time at the Delphian School, I met kids from about 11 different countries.
Do you consider it to be a good or a bad experience?
Definitely a great experience (some of the best years of my life); Delphi taught me to be more independent and self-reliant. Now I had to get up on my own, make my bed, take a shower, brush my teeth, go have breakfast, study, take responsibility for my education, etc. I mean, obviously I had a personal teacher who reminded me to do all those things at the beginning, but as time passed, I started doing them more and more on my own; taking responsibility for my life and my things.
I had to learn how to do laundry, including separating my whites and colors and picking the right detergent and fabric softener (Tide, Bounce Sheets for the dryer and Spray 'n Wash for tough stains). I was also responsible for keeping my room tidy and clean. I had to dust, clean my windows and vacuum the carpet. On the upside, I got to decorate my room however I wanted.
My personal teacher didn’t become obsolete since I still needed guidance, but with every month that passed I relied less and less on him and more on my own reasoning. But most importantly, at the Delphian School I received a great education, moral values (ethics, integrity and honor), tools and skills which have helped me succeed in life. I know that sounds like a cliché, but it’s true! I have applied the skills I learned at the Delphian School to many aspects of my life and my career.
What was a typical day at the Delphian School like?
Well, I got up at 6:30 AM, made my bed, went to the bathroom to take a shower, brush my teeth and, once in a blue moon, shave the 5 or 6 hairs that started growing on my chin. I got dressed and by 7:15 I was having breakfast. At 8:00 AM we had to be in the classroom where we studied till 11:00 AM when we took a 1 hour break for lunch. At 12:00 we were back in the classroom and studied until 2:30 PM, if memory serves me well. In the afternoon we were able to choose three 1-hour long extracurricular activities like arts, science and sports. I chose music (drums) from 3:00 to 4:00 PM, a team sport (soccer, basketball and baseball) 4:15 to 5:15 and weightlifting from 5:30 to 6:30. By 6:40 PM I was having dinner and after that we had free time to do whatever we wanted until 10:00 PM when we had to be in bed and with our lights out.
What did you do in your free time at the Delphian School?
I mostly hung out with my friends, ordered a pizza from Pizza Delight in Sheridan, which sadly went out of business a while back because of a lawsuit, I heard. I say sadly because they made a fantastic pizza; it even tasted good cold, the next day.
We also listened to music (mostly 80’s pop – Depeche Mode, New Order, REM, A Flock of Seagulls, OMD, The Go-Go's, Talking Heads, Psychodelic Furs, Men Without Hats, Pet Shop Boys, The Cars, The Bangles, INXS, The Cure, U2, etc.),
A New Wave masterpiece from the 80s
watched TV (Miami Vice, MASH, old Reruns of The Monkees and The Honeymooners, Magnum P.I., The Greatest American Heroe, Happy Days and Knight Rider) rented a video on VHS from Hollywood Video in Sheridan (Ghostbusters with Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray, Back to the Future with Michael J. Fox, The Breakfast Club, St. Elmos’s Fire, and Top Gun withTom Cruise and Kelly McGillis or Ferris Beuller's Day Off).
I enjoyed reading a book (Sci-fi, mystery novels [Sherlock Holmes] or fantasy) or a magazine (GQ), played indoor soccer or racquetball at the Gym (I was sad to hear that the racquetball court is now gone), or we went down to the Rec Room (which was usually the happening place at the school) where you could buy snacks and beverages (burritos, grilled cheese sandwiches, sodas [Shastas], granola bars, nachos and shakes among other treats) and play some Foosball, Ping-Pong, Pool or Backgammon. I haven’t been back in quite a few years, but from their Facebook page I saw that the Rec Room was recently remodeled and it now looks very different than when I was there. I think I even saw an ATM!
Lastly, we liked to go outside, walk around campus and just hang out or watch the starry sky in search of shooting stars or passing satellites and tell stories by the water tower. It was a very fun and wholesome time for me. At that time there were no cell phones and the Internet was only a rumor. So, in our free time, we also wrote letters or recorded messages for our families on cassette tapes and sent them by mail. In the letters I sent to my mom, I remember that I liked to enclose interesting feathers I found on my hikes around campus, including a hawk or an eagle feather and a peacock feather, which she still keeps in a scrapbook. Many of us also called home on one of the several pay phones that were distributed around campus (in the early 80s there was one inside the TV room next to the nurse's office (Marti's office) and one next to Admissions in the reception area. Later on, they installed another one on the third floor hallway close to the girls dorms). As an alternative, if all pay phones were busy, we asked our personal teachers to help us make the calls to keep in touch with our families and friends.
How was the food at the Delphian School?
The food was great; very healthy and extremely fresh. They had a great cook (Tony) a fully functional kitchen and a fantastic bakery that was run by a very nice lady (Katie).
Did you have any favorite dishes?
For breakfast, my favorite were scrambled eggs with chopped sausage, toast with butter and honey, oatmeal, orange juice and milk. And don’t get me started on the milk; it was absolutely delicious! I don’t know what it was, but I have never tasted better milk than at the Delphian School.
For lunch: chili, lentil soup, clam chowder or split pea soup with a tuna salad or an egg salad sandwich, especially when they served freshly baked bread, sliced right out of the oven. It was heaven!
For dinner: definitely the spaghetti and meatballs with freshly baked garlic bread and the roast beef with mashed potatoes, vegetables and gravy. Oh, and on Fridays, the chocolate cake with milk. Yum! The coffee cake was also very good.
On holidays, like the Fourth of July, I loved the steak dinners with baked potatoes and hamburgers and hot dogs for lunch that were prepared outside on grills; and obviously the turkey with stuffing and cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving and close to Christmas.
What did you usually do on the weekends at the Delphian School?
Well, on Saturdays the school organized fun trips and activities for us. We went to the beach, rafting, camping, shopping, to diner and movies, ice skating, roller skating, to museums, to the opera, to sporting events, bowling, swimming among many others, which I am sure I’m forgetting. The school also organized other longer trips to places like Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada, ski trips to Mt. Hood or Mt. Bachelor in Bend, Oregon as well as trips to cultural festivals like the Shakespearian Festival in Ashland Oregon which were also tons of fun and we all enjoyed.
On Sundays we had the day off and therefore we could get up late and relax; except when my next door neighbor at the dorm (2 East) woke me up (well actually woke everybody up) with his guitar to the tunes of Guns & Roses, which I didn’t mind that much since his playing was out of this world. He was a prodigy at 16 and has since become a very gifted guitar player; one of the best guitarists in the world in my opinion.
On Sundays many of us cleaned our rooms (Vacuumed, dusted, cleaned the windows) and did our laundry while listening to American Top 40 with Casey Kasem on the radio. I really miss that guy and his show. And since back then there was no Internet, much less smartphones or useful Apps like Shazam which now tell you who plays a specific song, his show was a great way to learn who played your favorite songs and also to discover new music so you could buy the album on cassette tape or, for the richer kids, on CD (very few kids had CD players at that time since they were terribly expensive). And to think that now cassette tapes and even CDs are obsolete!
And believe it or not, I even remember the TV commercials from that time. I remember that at that time there were a lot of commercials from Tom Peterson’s furniture and appliance stores. I don’t know why they stuck around in my head after all this time, but they did.
Let’s talk a bit more about those trips that were organized by the school. Which ones were your favorite?
I’ll have to make a list:
Shopping and movies at Clackamas Mall (where they had some killer Gyros in the Food Court and a lot of great stores)
Swimming (at the Mc Minville public pool or at a nearby River)
Cherry Picking at one of those U-Pick Farms (I don't remember where it was, but after that cherries became one of my favorite fruits.)
In Salem, Oregon: Shopping, Movies and Pizza (at Pietro’s Pizza where we ordered the Gold Coast Special [with fresh tomato slices on top] – one of the best Pizzas in the world in my opinion, only rivaled by the Escape From New York Pizza in Portland)
But, I absolutely loved to go to the Roller Skating rink. That was by far my favorite activity!
Really, why Roller Skating?
Well, because that's where I had the most fun out of all the trips! It involved 5 of my favorite activities: eating, skating, playing video games, listening to great music, and trying to impress girls (emphasis on the trying). First of all, I was really good at skating since back home I had been doing it since I was 5, they served a mean cheese burger with fries and chili dogs, and they had a small but very worthwhile arcade (with an air hockey table, Defender, Pac Man, Donkey Kong, Centipede, Galaga, Spy Hunter and Space Invaders). I loved skating to music and participating in the skating contests the rink organized like: who could skate the fastest, who could skate backwards the longest or who could skate the longest ducked down on one leg with the other leg extended, where I won more times than not. I also loved when they turned down the lights and put on romantic music because that gave me the opportunity to invite one of the girls I liked to skate while holding hands. For me it was terrifying but thrilling at the same time. Do you know how much courage one must muster, at 12 (or even at 16) to invite a girl to hold hands while skating? I always had a blast there!
What were your Favorite School Events?
Parent's weekend was awesome because we got to see our parents.
School Dances like The Harvest Ball, Homecoming and Prom were very fun, especially when Derrick was the DJ and you had a nice date to go with.
Home Baseball, Volleyball and Basketball Games
I don't remember if Alumni Weekend was a thing back then, which is now a big deal. But anyway there weren't very many Alumni in those days, so I guess not.
Did you participate in any of the School’s Athletics teams?
Absolutely! I was in the tennis team when I was 10 (Alan was my coach). I remember I bought a Wilson Advantage wooden racket that was too big and heavy for me, so I had to buy a lighter Wilson Chris Evert Champ racket, both of which I still have to this day. Boy did I get some teasing from my rivals for using a "girls racket"; but I didn't care, at least I could swing it. Plus, they weren't laughing very much when they were left staring at the ball go by during our matches.
In 1985 and 86 I was in the baseball team, and although I didn’t excel very much in baseball, I had a very good time. I played first base and Mitch was our coach.
I also played in the soccer team (junior varsity and varsity) where I was a much better player than at baseball. In fact, I was part of the Delphi Soccer Team which made state playoffs for the first time, back in 1986, where I played as fullback and sweeper.
And, although Delphi didn’t have an archery team, I also participated in that sport which was also tons of fun.
I know Delphian has an apprenticeship program. Did you participate in that?
Yes I did! Back then I wanted to become a lawyer, so the school made arrangements for me to apprentice at a prestigious law firm in Portland, Oregon, where I got my first glimpse into the corporate world. I learned a lot from that experience; it was very educational. I learned about contracts, corporate law, criminal law, subpoenas, lawsuits, trials and courtroom procedures.
What are your fondest memories from the Delphian School?
One of my fondest memories, and since where I come from there is no snow, was going to bed with all the trees looking green and waking up in the morning to see everything covered with snow. That experience ranks right up there with seeing the ocean for the first time and flying on an airplane for the first time, which for a kid are always fascinating and memorable occasions.
I also remember the glory days of returning victorious from away games (back then, in 1986, all games were away games since we didn’t have our own soccer field) and George (our beloved coach and driver [may he rest in peace]) would take a victory lap, honking the horn, in front of the building so that all the students and staff members who were on the Friday assembly could poke their heads out of the upper school classroom windows to cheer and applaud our wins. That was very memorable for me as well as for the rest of my teammates, I am sure. A quick shout-out to my 1986 Delphian teammates: Sergio R. (a tremendous forward and striker), Thomas and Jason L. (the wonder tweens) Joshua F., Chris W. (our goalkeeper and skater extraordinaire), Alberto B. (the wall), Arturo R. (me), Alejandro J., Miguel A,. Pepe H., and Andy C. Sorry if I missed anyone.
What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time?
To concentrate more on your (my) studies and take more advantage of everything Delphian School had to offer. I mean, I got a lot out of my education there, but I feel I could have gotten even more out of it if I had concentrated more on my studies and a little less on other things. Also, if I had known computers and the Internet would turn out to be such an important part of life, I would have studied more programing and computer related courses. Lastly, to know that experience (once you hit the corporate world) is very important; probably more important than knowledge and theory.
Would you recommend the Delphian School?
Most definitely, YES! As a former student and now a parent, I would recommend Delphi in a heartbeat to anyone, especially to all the parents who (like my father was in his time and myself at the moment) are looking for the best education possible for their children. I now understand the sacrifices my parents had to make financially (with the tuition and other expenses) and emotionally (by sending their children away to a boarding school), and I can tell you that we all agree it was well worth it.
A Small Tribute to my Parents and All Delphian School Staff
Thank you dad and thank you mom for giving me this amazing opportunity! I love you both very much! And thank you to all the Delphian School staff who have dedicated your lives to this wonderful endeavor and have helped shape so many life paths for the betterment of society. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed and are very much appreciated.