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A Tosa State of Mind

Alderman Dennis McBride represents Wauwatosa's 4th District. An attorney and graduate of Wauwatosa East High School, Ald. McBride strives to be an effective, thoughtful, and nonpartisan representative for his constituents and for his hometown.

Old School

I embarrassed my daughter this weekend.

On Saturday morning, the Tosa East marching band kicked off the day's activities at Tosa Fest with a stirring rendition of "Glorious," the selection that it will play for the Queen of England in London on New Year's Day 2011, followed by a rousing rendition of Tosa East's school song, "Hail, Wauwatosa."  My 15 year-old daughter, who plays flute in the band, was horrified to see her father stand for the playing of the school song.

I'm sorry, but I love that old tune and what it represents.  Written in 1931 by  two Wauwatosa High School students, "Hail, Wauwatosa" is a great school song in the grand tradition of fight songs like "On, Wisconsin."  As a proud member of the Tosa East Class of 1972, I still feel my chest swell whenever I hear the old song.

When we attended Tosa East, we all rose as the drums beat the opening notes of the song, and we stayed on our feet as we sang all the words.  Now, my children tell me, few students know the words and many are only dimly aware that "Hail, Wauwatosa" is their school's song.

Call me "old school," but that just isn't right.  Now more than ever, we need things that bring us together without rancor.  A bit of school spirit, shared by students, parents, faculty, alumni, and members of the community, can be the tie that binds.

I'm proud of my alma mater, and equally proud of the great Wauwatosa schools that educated four of my brothers and me so thoroughly, that sent my older daughter to the Ivy League, and that are preparing my two younger kids for college so well.

I'm as proud of Tosa West, which represented Wisconsin in the "We the People" competition in Washington, D.C., earlier this year, as I am of Tosa East, which was one of only 15 schools nationwide invited to send its jazz band to Lincoln Center in New York City in May.  Anyone who wants to know the value of a Wauwatosa education only needs to view Tosa East's Wall of Inspiration to see how accomplished our graduates are.

So, you'll forgive me when I stand for the school song.  I can't help it.  As the final lines say, "We'll always love you / And praise you to the sky / Waving our white and crimson / Ever for Tosa High."  Someday, my daughter might be standing for those words, too, while her children look on in embarrassment.  To our kids, we parents will always be old school. 

Hail, Wauwatosa. 

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