Four thousand people made their way into the Mt. Carmel High School stadium to hear American Idol contestant Adam Lambert sing on Friday, May 8. Why was Lambert there? Because a return to one's high school is a requirement of each contestant who has knocked out all but two competitors; it's an American Idol publicity stunt.
All of the students at Mt. Carmel High and Black Mountain Middle School were invited, as well as the general public. The schools granted students time away from their classes to attend; this meant an hour to an hour and a half of education lost by the Mt. Carmel students and two and a half to three hours lost by the Black Mountain students. Teachers at both schools were required to go, to act as monitors. In addition, Mt. Carmel's advanced placement students, scheduled to take exams that day, had to be bused off-campus, to Westview High School, to escape the chaos.
Lambert rode into the stadium in a red convertible, mounted the stage, and sang two songs. The first, Michael Jackson's "Black or White," mucked its way through a poorly set up sound system. The second, Tears for Fears' "Mad World," came through clearly and gave a hint of Lambert's talent.
San Diego taxpayers paid for the presence of city police and a police helicopter hovered overhead for awhile. We also paid for our mayor, Jerry Sanders, to come declare May 8 Adam Lambert Day. The word going around was that Mt. Carmel, as host school, paid all or part of the cost of a security staff, stadium cleanup, and for the busing of students to Westview. Days earlier, the school's teachers and administrators agreed to a 2.7 percent pay cut due to a shortage of funds.