Going back in time: High school then and now

Rebecca Kelly, Staff Writer

Ever wonder what life was like for high school students thirty years ago. What was it like when fifth grade teacher Mr. Conner first started teaching and Mr. Striebeck was still in the classroom? Not surprisingly, some things were the same and others were very different.
My parents both graduated in 1993, so I decided to sit down and talk with them. My father graduated from Delphi with a class size of about 115, and my mother graduated from Southmont (in Crawfordsville) with a class size of about 140. I wanted to hear how life now compared to life then and see how things differ. I asked them each four questions: What was day to day life like? What are some things you had that we don’t have? What are some things you wish you had? What are some things that you wish we didn’t have?
Let’s start with day to day life. After waking up and getting ready for school, my mother would be picked up by a neighbor and taken to school, while my father was driven by his cousin. My mother says one thing that is most likely still the same is meeting up with your friends at your lockers and then walking to class together. She said that it was always the same people and it never changed. My dad said his favorite part of the day was when they had ¨wrestling matches in Striebeck’s room. He would clear out the center of the room and we would take him down. It was everybody versus Striebeck.¨ After school, when in season, they would both go to practices or competitions and then they would go home. When not in season, my dad would meet up with friends at his house and they would work on cars, and my mom said she would just go home and do homework. For many some of their days look similar to what my parents had, but there are also many differences as well.
So far much sounds the same, but there were definitely differences. One thing that has changed are the gas prices. When my parents were in high school, they were paying around 85¢ per gallon. Initially that sounds amazing, but remember the minimum wage was also lower. My mother worked at her local ice cream shop and made around two to three dollars per hour. With gas being cheaper, a favorite pastime of many high school students was to go cruising around town on weekends. They would drive from one side of town to the other. There were differences at school, too. For instance, if you wanted to talk to a friend in class you had to pass notes and hope that the note made it to the right person. Also, all students were required to take an industrial arts class and a Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) class, and many students drove a muscle car or lifted truck.
According to my parents, another difference is that student involvement was huge. Student sections were always full and after every home football game and basketball game at Southmont there was always a dance and everyone went. For my dad at Delphi, at every home football game at half time, the student section would walk over to what used to be Monical’s more recently, but back then it used to be a drive-in movie place. Or after games everyone would meet up at local restaurants and hang out until closing time and enjoy each other’s company. Another thing is that there used to be many traditions that everyone would follow, ranging from painting your rivals’ front rock your school colors (which nowadays would get us arrested) to literally throwing all underclassmen off of the senior mezzanine. Things that were acceptable and expected then are now frowned upon if we were to try it today.
While there have been many positives to all the changes since my parents were in high school, there have also been some things that aren’t as good. When asked what my parents wish we didn’t have, my mom said adamantly that she dislikes how limiting the pathways are, how intense the attendance policy is, and the importance put upon the end of year test. When she was in high school they didn’t have pathways, they got to take different classes they wanted to take and try many different things. Now we are forced to have our lives figured out at 14, and are more forced to take classes in our pathway without the ability to explore different things.
Many changes have happened in the last thirty years, some good, some bad, some making life better, and some arguably making it worse. One can only imagine what the next thirty years will bring.