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Vocab List for New d.tech Students

By: Nicholas Garland


d.tech has some pretty weird naming conventions and sayings. If you’re a new student, be sure to check out the list below to be up to date on all the d.tech slang.


1. “Half a Hallway High School”

Current day picture of d.tech’s former home. Photo taken by Nicholas Garland.

When the school first opened, our campus was squished in half of a hallway at Mills High School. The d.tech seniors made the the boring beige walls and empty rooms of Mills their own. They even painted each room a different color and  referred to them as such. Mills administration was bothered that the founding class had changed things up and were afraid d.tech would end up sharing their campus indefinitely. The Mills administration even went as far as to publish an informative post on their website about our co-location saying, “now is the time for the parents of Mills students to demand that SMUHSD [San Mateo Union High School District] finds an alternative site immediately…dTech has created a tremendous burden on teachers, staff, and Mills operations this year. Just imagine what would happen if dTech took twice as much space.” The Mills administration’s opinions were also reflected in the parent’s and student’s attitudes. They treated d.tech like a disease. Our passing periods, physical activity breaks, and lunch were sure to be kept separate from Mill’s passing periods and breaks. Our schools kept us as far apart as we could and we were dubbed “Half a Hallway High School.”


2. Learning Hubs

Students getting work done in learning hub green. Photo taken by Evan Tung

Learning hubs were intended to be productive zones where students could finish all of their homework and were assigned to them for almost half of the day. However, learning hubs ended up being known for how unproductive they were. Mostly, instead of the studious environment Hubs were intended to be, students ended up watching videos on YouTube and playing games on their computers or phones. Learning Hubs became social hour, and if you had friends you wanted to talk to in other rooms, all you had to do was tell your teacher you were working on a project with them and you were free to go join them. Learning hubs were eventually renamed as the familiar acronym F.I.T., for focused independent time, independent being what the teachers stressed. Teachers made sure everyone’s Chromebook screens faced the center of the room where the teacher could see. Just yesterday, Dr. Montgomery jokingly talked about a F.I.T. period at Rollins, saying, “I feel like I just supervised a ‘learning hub green.’ It was so unproductive.”


3. The Calculators

Did you know that we were almost the d.tech Calculators? That idea was created by me for the mascot design challenge. You’re welcome. Seniors were challenged to design a mascot and then vote as a school. The Calculators made it to the final round of voting, but sadly didn’t end up winning. From then on, the calculators became an inside joke, even referenced by Dr. Montgomery.


4. T.C.C.

Trust, Commitment, Care was a team matto at Davidson College, where Steph Curry went. He got a tattoo that says “TCC 30” along with other teammates from college. T.C.C. were values that all d.tech students were expected to follow and became one of the many cringe-worthy phrases at d.tech. Those who showed those values and stood out to the administration were asked to come forward at a community meeting, named an Empathy Warrior, and were awarded a $5 Starbucks or In-N-Out gift card. These values haven’t been brought up recently which was made clear when I asked freshman Logan Young to explain what he thought T.C.C. stood for, “Trading Card Club?”


5. “Silence is consent”

Almost two years ago, a couple incidents occurred where students were “breaking the school’s trust” by destroying things or stealing things from the open lockers in the hangar. At a community meeting, Dr Montgomery told everyone, “Silence is consent.” He said this with the intention of speaking up when you see bad behavior, because if you don’t, you’re showing it’s okay. However, some students took it very differently. In Russ’ @dtech, David Boles asked Dr. Montgomery, “What about rape?” “Silence is consent” became very controversial for obvious reasons, and the phrase was soon retired.


6. Koi Fish

The koi fish was once described at a community meeting by Dr. Montgomery as our “spirit mascot.” He explained to us at almost every community meeting that koi fish grow to the size of their pond. As students at d.tech, we are in a very large pond and we are expected to grow to be very large. The first two times we heard this information about koi fish, we found it inspirational. Now every time we hear koi fish, we groan and tune out the rest of whatever is being said. You probably even tuned out the rest of this paragraph. It has become too much for students to listen to the same cliche metaphors.


7. S.M.A.S.

Seniors at SMAS interacting with each other during passing period. Photo taken by Nicholas Garland.

As you may have noticed, the seniors aren’t at Rollins. We’re at the San Mateo Adult School. The space reminds us all of a traditional high school, and even includes chairs that have tiny desks attached to them, beige push-pin walls, and we’re still sharing our rooms with the adult school classes. The rooms each have their own thermostat, set extremely low, with angry signs that say “DO NOT TOUCH.” Students have to bring a jacket just so they can work in the cold. However, the worst thing about the adult school is not the physical rooms, but the fact that S.M.A.S. is pronounced in one word – smas, dubbed by Dr. Montgomery. When I asked Ms. Anderson what she thought of the name smas, she jokingly said “It’s a really elegant name. To me it symbolizes Dr. Montgomery’s honest, straight forward approach to life. Perhaps a catchier name would’ve been the senior center.”

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