A Day in the Life of Harvey Banks

Gigi Richardson, Sentry Staff Reporter

The man, the myth, the legend: Harvey Banks. For as much as we see the man, have you ever stopped and truly wondered who he is as a person? To start off, Banks is a Resource Officer, but views himself as more of a student observer. Basically, this means he does a lot of walking around to check that students are doing what they are supposed to be doing. His main goal is to help students in their transition from high school to college and the real world with ease. At first he answered questions in short sentences and held back, but as we got farther into the day, he began to tell me everything. Though this is just a day in Banks’ life, this article cannot begin to cover his experiences.

Banks graduated from Yorktown in 1971. In college he majored in communications, and he got his first job as a disc jockey for a radio station. Banks thought this would be the ideal situation, but found talking into a microphone with no assurance anybody was listening too lonesome. After being in between jobs, his old teacher from high school asked if he would take on a part-time job at the school to help deal with students. He planned on working here for six months, a year max, but it did not quite work out like that. This year will be his 30th.

As I followed him around throughout the day, it seemed as though he knew every student he passed in the halls. A lot of daps (in case some were wondering what a dap is, it is the quintessential handshake of this era, no big deal) were given. A lot.

During the interview, Banks began to share some advice. At first, I am not going to lie, I zoned out a little. Not because I did not think what he was saying worth listening to, but because I thought I was going to hear the usual spiel. It turns out, though, Banks is a fountain of wisdom.

“Put trust in the students to make the right choice. If you give them no option to make the wrong one, they are not learning,” said Banks on how to teach students decision making skills.

Banks said a lot of what he does is duties that are assigned to him. One of them includes monitoring a period for In School Suspension (ISA). On this particular day, Banks was monitoring a student, who will remain anonymous, who was working on classwork. When the student was done with his work, Banks took the time to give the student advice on how to avoid being here again. It was quite humorous to hear the reenactment of the incident.

Banks was eager to share some interesting stories of his time working in schools.

“I came out to my car and all the wheels, even tires, were gone. Not to mention the seats. I thought: how am I going to explain this to my insurance company,” said Banks of his time working at a school in Washington D.C.

Banks also commends the elaborate pranks that students are able to pull. Not that he approves, but he understands the planning involved.

“One [prank] was to close the school for two days. They left a machine running in the middle of the school and when we walked in the next morning, it was still going off and the school was filled with carbon monoxide. Another year when the school was over on 28th street, the kids assembled a car on top of the Principal’s office,” said Banks on the most interesting pranks that have been pulled.  

A particularly interesting event that Banks witnessed was “a long time ago, [when] we had the Klu Klux Klan (KKK) rent out the auditorium for an interest meeting,” said Banks.

Finally, he gave an inside on his love for something unexpected.

“I am a Shakespearean. I played Romeo and Hamlet and all that,” said Banks on his heyday in theater.

He even recited some poetic lines.

All in all, Banks is an incredibly insightful and hilarious individual. A day in the life of Banks was an amazing one. Though he is an authoritative figure, it is worth the time to stop and talk to him. Trust me, it is an experience like no other.