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For the week of May 30 through June 5, 2001

Adam Brod to graduate

Notorious free spirit reforms

Express Staff Writer

Chalk one up for the rank-and-file pundits.

More than a year after ditching his Wood River High School class near Madrid, Spain, and missing the last two months of his senior year, free spirit Adam Brod has returned to the fold and is back on the graduation track. Heís scheduled to receive his high school diploma May 31 from Boise High School.

Adam Brod Express file photo

"I like the sense of completion," he said Monday. "But itís not as big of a deal for me as it is for other kids," because heís already been living on his own in an apartment for over nine months.

Brod, now 19, caused a stir when his Spanish class, on an annual school-organized field trip, inadvertently returned to the United States without him in April 2000, though he says he ran away.

In e-mail messages to his father and the Mountain Express, he wrote that he slept only a few nights on the streets during the more than two-month defection. He spent the days reading Anna Karenina, walking long distances between cities and relying on new acquaintances for food and shelter.

His classmates either applauded or scoffed, depending on whether they viewed the escape as a free spiritís spree or as irresponsible rebellion. For his father, David Brod, it was something of a nightmare, though he was stirred by his sonís sense of the dramatic. Teachers and administrators refused to talk about their wayward student.

Brod acknowledged Monday that he felt "notorious" when he returned to the Wood River Valley. So, "yeah," the prospect of going back to WRHS made him a little uncomfortable. "What do you say showing up for your fifth year?"

He had made a name for himself in other ways at WRHS, by wearing sarongs for example, and by his own admission was considered to be an eccentric. But he "got sick of it" and is "currently reformed." He now has his hair cut short, no longer wears purple sunglasses, holds down a 30-hour-a-week job as a dishwasher at Kulture Klatsch cafť and pays rent. Meanwhile, he said he has been challenging himself with some of the most difficult college-prep classes.

"Iím still not that happy with my grades," he said, "but what was cool about [this school year] is that I actually learned something."

After slipping into a coma for a week following a skull-cracking fall on Bald Mountain in 1998, Brod said, his usually high grades suffered. Recovery has been slow.

He has no immediate plans for college. Instead, he said, heíll spend this summer working as a dishwasher at Camp Noríwester for 9- to 16-year-olds on the San Juan islands.

After that, who knows? Perhaps heíll attend Flager University in St. Augustine, Fla., the oldest town in the United States and originally settled by the Spanish.

"It kind of reminds me of Spain," he said.

Heís thinking about studying journalism.


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Copyright © 2001 Express Publishing Inc. All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited.