Dr. William Michael Roper Interview
Zachary Roper Mr. Munn Complete Interview Transcript 5-19-2011
ZR = Zachary Roper (Interviewer) WR = Doctor William Michael Roper (Interviewee)
ZR: This is Doctor William Michael Roper, being interviewed by Zachary Michael Roper um, at 2610 East Bocock Road, Marion Indiana, Doctor Roper’s home. Doctor Roper I have your permission to conduct this interview?
ZR: Okay, when were you born?
WR: Um, December, er July 10, 1961
ZR: What years did you attend Marion High School?
WR: Um, 1976 through 1979.
ZR: And where were you living at the time?
WR: Uh, living at uh, 2610 East Bocock Rd. Marion, Indiana.
ZR: What, Who in your family did you live with?
WR: Um, I was the oldest of four children, lived with my mother and father and two brothers and one sister.
ZR: Okay, um we’re going to talk a little bit about your experiences now. What were classes like for you?
WR: Um, you mean at Marion High School?
WR: Yeah, classes were, they were difficult. I took some of the harder classes and tried to do well in high school.
ZR: Okay, what was school like for you as a person? What were some of your extra curricular activities?
WR: Um, well, eh, school was good, from a stand point of what I had to do, and how I had to do it. I uh, I had had some surgery on my spine before school started my sophomore year, so I couldn’t really be an athlete so I chose to be in the band, and played in the band for three years and uh, we did a lot of practicing after school, in fact we practiced almost every day of the year after school. So we had band practice all the time. And I would uh, I had got into chess club a little bit and did some other things for teachers if they needed it, but uh, it was, it was a good experience.
ZR: Okay, what were some of your uh, favorite classes while you attended MHS?
WR: Well actually, I had a lot of good classes, but probably my favorite classes were uh, the opportunity to take some advanced biology classes like cellular physio-physiology and microbiology. Uh those were good classes to me because it helped me to figure out that I wanted to do biology as a major in college.
ZR: Uh, when you think of your teachers are any uh, teachers particularly special to you?
WR: Well, they were all good teachers I thought at the time, uh I think that uh, I really enjoyed being uh, in class with Mr. Munn, in history classes, and uh, and uh, he also taught me in junior high school and that’s how I got to know him so I really liked being with uh, being in class with him. Mr. Bryce was a really good math teacher and I enjoyed his class, a calculus class, and, and, another class I took during high school was with him. And then uh, Mrs. Conyers was my Latin teacher and I really enjoyed that class, so there were some good classes.
ZR: What was your most difficult experience going through high school?
WR: Well, probably my most difficult was when I had my surgery on my back, because uh, I had to, I had to go into high school which was the consolidation of three junior highs into one high school and we had about twenty five hundred students at the high school and I went to school the first day in a body cast. And so that was, you know, having to meet people and not look like a freak and you know just be myself and, and have to deal with what happened to my back it was a little bit difficult, but after that it was you know once the body cast came off and I was better and it was a lot easier to, to uh you know I had a lot of good friends and we spent a lot of time doing a lot of things and it was, it was just fun times.
ZR: What were things like for a student in a body cast? Were you treated differently or?
WR: Oh yeah, yeah, you know high school kids are brutal. Uh, you know I got punched in the cast, and I got called a freak, and you know I had to leave class early to get from one class to the other, because it took longer so it was kind of uh, it was a challenge. It made me kind of understand what people with special needs really how they feel when, when they’re being picked on a little bit, or ridiculed a little bit so.
ZR: And what would you say was your most influential um, experience coming out of Marion High School?
WR: Well, I, I think the really there was a number of experiences. One was dealing with what I dealt with, with having the surgery, but also you know taking really difficult classes and getting good grades in those and having the opportunity to uh take some things that other students couldn’t take like a second year of physics and you know multiple math classes and multiple science classes and organic chemistry and those things to, to be able to get As and As and some Bs in and be able to go to college and, and, and have that experience behind me, I thought was just tremendous.
ZR: What was your most memorable experience, the most fun you had?
WR: Well, actually the most fun I probably had was being in the band. I mean we got to go to all the athletic events, and we played, we marched at the football games, we played at the basketball games, we had concerts, we went to contests, went to the state fair every year and went in band day and you know really, that, that was a great experience. I-I you know, I-I can’t, I can’t uh think of anything else that was as fun as that. I mean I liked hanging out with my friends, but you know I was busy, I was studying or I was in the band, and you know I went out a little bit, but I didn’t, I didn’t spend all my time going out and hanging out because I was busy.
ZR: Did you work while you were a student at Marion High School?
WR: I did work some. I uh, did some landscaping work a-a couple of summers and uh, and then I worked at uh, Lloyd’s florist as a delivery person um, on uh weekends and uh in summertime of my senior year.
ZR: What was it like trying to balance work and your homework and school work?
WR: Well it wasn’t too bad for me because I didn’t really have to work during the day because my day was all day at school and then practice and, and by that eve-evening the place where I worked was closed. So I worked on Saturdays, um during the school year then worked on more uh, weekdays and Saturdays on the weekends. So work itself didn’t really play much into how hard it was for me in high school because I really didn’t have to work during the week.
ZR: Your life outside of high school, outside of the um extra-curriculars of Marion High School itself, what did you do for fun, what were your social activities?
WR: Well, I, really we went to movies a lot, we uh, we did a lot of cruising you know cruising back then was really a big thing. We’d meet at the mall or we’d meet at McDonald’s and we’d just hang out and talk and sometimes we’d get a group and we’d go to somebody’s house, and, you know watch a movie, or have popcorn or pizza or something. Then you know certainly trying to chase the girls as much as possible was kind of fun to so.
ZR: What was Marion High School like when you attended in comparison to what you see now?
WR: Well there-there is a bit of a difference because we had a lot more students with only three grades whereas now there are four grades there and there are a lot fewer students even with four grades. Um, you know Marion High School was, was packed, it was hustle and bustle all of the time you were, between classes you had to really move to get to class because there were so many kids moving from class to class, you couldn’t, couldn’t horse around very long or you’d be late to class. And, and uh, you know they made some renovations and they’ve added some things that are newer things but uh, you know having the plantation, or no-not plantation, the planetarium back then was really cool and you know we just, I just thought it was a really good school. You know big auditorium we had some great productions there uh, so you know there’s a lot of similarities because of the building, but there were a lot of differences because of student numbers when I was there.
ZR: What was the city of Marion like when you went, were in high school?
WR: Ehh, the city of Marion was not really that different then it is now, um there were at the time that I was in high school was when the first oil embargo occurred and I-I went to high school right after that. And we had had a lot of people that were friends that had moved away because they didn’t have jobs and so that was beginning at that time to be a problem. It wasn’t necessarily for my class because we still had a very big class at about seven hundred and twenty students but, it wasn’t uh, very many years, maybe one or two after that that it started going down to seven hundred and six hundred, and five fifty because there just weren’t jobs here I mean we, the uh, the auto industry was our big industry and it basically got shut down for a couple of years so.
ZR: What did you do once you graduated from Marion High School?
WR: Well, when I graduated I went on to college at Indiana University, and uh, really had good success there and was able to get into medical school and now I’m a doctor.
ZR: Um, being a-an orthopedic surgeon how much um, obviously you have a lot of education post high school, how much do you think your education at Marion High School helped prepare you for the education after high school?
WR: I-I think that the, my education at Marion was exceptional. I-I was very happy with my teachers; I had class choices that were head and shoulders above what other schools were able to do. Uh, we didn’t have college credit courses, but we had honors courses and, and you know, expectations at those levels that made me be able to be a better student and made me be able to take things in college that I might not have been able to take.
ZR: When you think back to your high school years, is there anything else that you think about specific to Marion High School that you feel shaped your life into what it is now?
WR: You know I-I-I-I can’t really pick a particular instance or particular feeling uh, you know the, when you go to high school you basically go where your parents are, and so my father was an orthodontist and settled in Marion and that’s where we went to school. And there was really other, only one other choice to go to school and that was Bennet High School, uh, which was a good school, but much, much smaller and just didn’t have to classes that needed to be taken that my parents thought needed to be taken for me to be above where I need to be in school. And so you know really to have those opportunities were really probably my most memorable things because I don’t think I would be where I am today if I didn’t have those opportunities. And, and succeed at that, you know it wasn’t just opportunities you know I was tenth out of seven hundred and twenty so it ended up being success too so.
ZR: Okay, well thank you very much for your time here today.
WR: You’re welcome.