COCONUT CREEK, FL—Less than five months after graduating from Bayshore High School, 18-year-old Henry Doyle returned to his lowly alma mater Monday a wise and conquering college freshman.
"I'm back, Bayshore High," Doyle announced as he pulled his mother's Toyota Camry slowly into the parking lot normally reserved for faculty, emerging with a knowing grin. "Bet you never thought you'd see the likes of me again!"
After pausing to behold any students who might have taken notice of his momentous arrival, Doyle determined that many were too intimidated to say hello or even look in his general direction, so he marched indoors.
According to sources, the Nova Southeastern University freshman spent the next two hours striding like a Roman general through the halls of his former school, smiling at distracted teachers, nodding at confused members of the janitorial staff, and leaning back against the school's trophy case for nearly 25 minutes.
"Some of the kids who don't know who I am will probably just think I'm some hip, young teacher," the returning hero said as he was repeatedly pushed aside by a crowd of students rushing to get to class. "And I bet those who do know me will be shocked at how much taller and more mature I look. Some of them might even flip out.'
"For one thing, I didn't have this bad boy back then," added Doyle, tracing his finger along a finely bearded jawline.
The first of many stops made by Doyle during his exultant tour of Bayshore High was the school's main office, where in his younger days he had helped sort the faculty mail. After waiting several minutes for Ms. Karpman, the school secretary, to get off the phone, and being mistaken for another student by the name of "Frank," Doyle was warmly welcomed back by the receptionist, who was struck silent by his confidence and charm.
"Did you see her face?" Doyle asked reporters. "She almost had a heart attack when I explained to her who I was."
Following a brief excursion to the cafeteria, where he lamented the meager options available to those "still in high school," and wondered how "kids not yet in college" could eat so early in the day, the towering freshman reportedly decided to visit his favorite former teacher.
Doyle said he eagerly anticipated seeing Mrs. Shelton, who had wished him luck in his yearbook and invited him to drop by if he was ever in the neighborhood. Striding up to her as she entered her third-period class, Doyle had just begun explaining the advantages of a college-caliber syllabus over a standard high school course outline when the bell rang.
"I thought she might ask me to sit in, but she just sort of waved goodbye and started class," Doyle said. "I knew I'd probably be way too distracting to those kids, so I decided to just hang out in the hall until she was done."
It was during this period of waiting, sources reported, that Doyle encountered seniors Greg Hollis and Vanessa Pope, both of whom were in his trigonometry class the previous year.
"They were pretty taken aback," Doyle said. "I bet they thought I'd be too stuck-up to visit this place or to talk to people like them. Probably the last thing they ever expected was for me to offer my e-mail so that we could hang out the next time I'm around."
Hollis and Pope confirmed that their former classmate had taken time from his glorious homecoming to offer them words of encouragement.
"It was a little weird," Hollis said. "We never really talked before. He said I probably remembered him without the beard, so I said yeah, that was it. I didn't even know he graduated. I thought he was our age."
With the guidance counselor he had hoped to visit away on vacation, and a couple of large 10th-graders giving him a hard time, Doyle said the moment had come for him to once again take his leave of Bayshore High.
"I'll head over to McDonald's, I think," Doyle told reporters with a quick nod. "Some of the guys I used to hang out with might be there. Plus, I don't think I can handle all this attention for much longer. Best to just leave everyone wanting more."
And with that, Doyle exited his school via the same double doors through which he had entered a mere six hours before.
"Don't worry, though," he added. "I'll be back."