Heading into the Hallowed High School Halls

On Amaze-ing Words Wednesdays, I share my love of all things language. On Deep-Fried Fridays, I share whatever topic seems tasty to me at the moment. However, when you come to this site, neither of those tell you what genre I write.

As I’m putting the polish on a young adult novel and gearing up to edit a middle grade novel, I thought I’d shine the spotlight on those teenage years. So for the next several Fridays, I’ll be heading into the hallowed high school halls, sharing some tales from my own teenage years, interviewing others, and taking some glimpses at the teen species of today.

High School Then

Let’s start with a preview of Julie Glover’s teenage years–long before I became wise, famous, and all that. Though I was born in West Texas, I grew up in Corpus Christi–on the Southern Gulf Coast of the Lone Star State. I went to schools in two different school districts: Tuloso-Midway and Calallen, moving between the two after my 7th grade. I attended Calallen High School from 1982 through 1986–also known as the “old days” by my children.

In the year that I entered high school:

  • Ronald Reagan was president.
  • David Letterman began hosting his Late Night show.
  • Prince William was born to Prince Charles and Princess Diana.
  • Survivor released their number one hit “Eye of the Tiger,” the theme song for Rocky III.
  • NFL football players chose to strike in mid-season for a total of 57 days (over money, of course).
  • Epcot Center opened at Disney World;
  • Michael Jackson’s Thriller album was released;
use of photo covered under Fair Use
  • And I looked like this:

My Freshman schedule included History, Algebra I, Biology, Band, and Honors English. What other classes I took, I have no idea. That year in English, we read The Odyssey (which I hated) and Romeo and Juliet (which I thought had a stupid ending but a funny scene about thumb-biting).

Since there were only about 250 people in my class, it was fairly easy to know most of them. I was not popular, but I was reasonably well-known and liked. My best friend was Diana, and she spoke both English and Spanish–introducing me to sonrisa (smile), buenas suerte (good luck), and tu eres guapo (you are handsome–a phrase that a 9th grade girl might want to know). I did encounter the usual teasing at the get-go of my Freshmen year, but it was mild and didn’t include any hazing.

Overall, the start of my high school years was pretty good.

High School Now

My son is starting his freshman year in a couple of weeks. He has FISH Camp next week, which includes orientation information and a tour of the large campus. (That would have come in very handy at my school since all of us Freshmen looked totally lost on the first day.)

When I look around at the school, things have changed in numerous ways: There are computer labs filled with Macs, a natatorium for the swimming program, a Subway and a Pizza Hut in the school cafeteria, and I definitely do not remember the 14-year-old girls looking like that (but maybe that’s my mama perspective talking). But the main features of high school remain: Core courses, extra-curricular activities, stadiums and band halls, cafeteria seating, school spirit, a trophy case filled with mementos, a herd feeling when the crowds gather, and the challenge of figuring out where you fit and how you stand out.

What do you remember most about high school? What was your school like? Have you had a chance to be in a high school in recent years? What were the differences and the similarities?

I’ll be back next week to take a closer look inside the hallowed halls of high school.

Sources: EightiesClub.com; LikeTotally80s.com

28 thoughts on “Heading into the Hallowed High School Halls

  1. Great walk down memory lane, Julie. I don’t live far from my high school because I still live in the same small city. The girls no longer wear the grey/blue plaid skirt to their knees or the white Peter Pan blouse and dual-tone loafers. Go figure! And the nuns, if there are any, are dressed like everyone else on the street. It costs a lot more than when I attended and we can’t afford to send our kids there! My son went to a public high school and his sister is following in his footsteps in one week. We registered her yesterday and there wasn’t one person in line but us two! They’re having orientation in one week, all day, from 8 to 3. I haven’t hung around on a high school campus since my own high school days and although “free dress” is very different than when I attended, things don’t seem all that changed. When we attended my son’s basketball games, the crowds were the same. People dress differently, otherwise it looks like a typical high school campus. I’m just much older!

    1. Ah, Catholic school! We didn’t have a uniform at my public school, but we couldn’t wear shorts like they do today. No way. I hope your daughter has a lovely time in high school. I have some great memories from that time.

  2. I have only vague memories of high school, none of which involve learning anything. I remember breezing through my classes–particularly freshman year–but other than that, I’d have trouble naming more than three teachers.
    Most of my high school memories center around hanging out with friends, blowing off a period or two, and spending most of my time reading and exchanging short bits of prose and poetry with a couple of other would-be writers. I’d already decided to go for a computer career–ha!–but it was nice playing Kerouac and Ginsberg as a way to blow off whatever the old guy up front was lecturing about.

    1. Wow, you exchanged prose and poetry back then? I wasn’t very open about my writing in high school. You probably did learn something in those years, Jeff–if only how to blow off a period or two!

  3. Love your feathered hair! And it was so blonde!

    I don’t remember much of high school. There’s no way I could tell you what classes I took or what we read in English.

    But I can tell you one thing. Dress codes are definitely different now. Until I was in 8th grade, kids could not even wear shorts to school. That changed when the school officials began making us stand outside once we finished eating lunch. Some kid complained to his parents who were high-muckety-mucks, and they complained to the school board. After that, we were allowed to wear shorts, but only if they came to our knees.

    Boy, that was all such a long time ago. 😀

    1. No shorts for us either. But somehow, we got away with wearing miniskirts. Go figure.

      And my hair was very blonde that year…sunbleached from time at the pool.

  4. I hated high school. Most of my classes were boring, and I was one of the kids who got picked on. I had my own little group of nerdy friends who were awesome (and those I kept on touch with still are); and they were what made high school bearable.

    My daughter goes to the same high school her dad (and both grandpas!) went to. They had the same observations as you – a lot of changes, but a lot that hasn’t changed.

      1. Aha! I love that Van Halen album (but the book is scary). I’m sad that you have such awful memories of high school. I have both great and terrible ones; it was a mixed bag for me. Of course, you can have the satisfaction years later of knowing how stupid those kids were to pick on a woman who turned out so dang awesome!

  5. You and my son-in-law must be enemies, Julie. He went to Gregory-Portland the same years you were at Calallen. He and my daughter & grandsons lived in Portland for years, and they were never happier than when G-P beat Calallen. lol.

  6. I went to a Catholic high school my first year, then transferred to a public high school for my last three years. In retrospect, there is a lot to be said for all boys or all girls. I did much better in my freshman year than in the last three. I wasn’t all that good at doing the assigned reading or homework, except where I really enjoyed a class, which was rarely. I still managed pretty good grades because I listened well in class.

    By the way, Nixon was President and Johnny Carson was still doing his show from New York when I started.

    1. The research is rather clear that separate boys and girls classes foster academic learning, so that’s an interesting comment. (Knowing what I know now about men and their brains, I don’t know how some of you guys concentrated at all in class with what some of the girls wore.)

      Johnny Carson was a favorite of my family’s. I don’t think I ever really accepted Leno as the host of The Tonight Show.

  7. I’m only a few years behind you, so my high school experience was strikingly similar to yours. My kids are only in elementary school right now, but I think the biggest difference is boys wearing their pants below their bottoms. In my day, it was parachute pants. 🙂

    1. Ah, parachute pants! Sure they were ugly, but they were comfy. Here’s hoping that the show-your-boxers craze dissipates before your kids reach high school, right? Thanks, Julie.

  8. I remember getting the Thriller album for Christmas that year, in vinyl of course, and I think my response was, awesome! Thanks for the trip down memory lane. And it’s also nice to know someone is older than me 😉 and that somethings really have not changed.

    1. One of my siblings got the Thriller album, and it really was a good record. I still remember being excited when the Thriller video would come on MTV–you know, back when it really was MUSIC Television. Did you own a single glove, S.J.? LOL.

      1. no, I didn’t, lol 🙂 nor the jacket
        oh the video, I studied that thing and danced right along with them, so cool. Probably, one of the coolest videos of all time.

  9. Julie, I love that picture of you!!!! I remember a lot about high school. Even though it was 15+ years ago, it feels like yesterday. Up until recently, my mom taught high school, so I’ve had quite a bit of access to the high school crowd. I’m probably most surprised by how the kids dress today. When we were in school, we dressed cute, but mostly we aimed for comfort. Compared to how the kids dress today, my class was much more comfortable in our own skin. It seems the kids today try too hard. Short skirts and high heels? Really? I can’t remember one single girl wearing high heels to high school in the ’90s. It’s kind of sad if you ask me. But, you see it on TV and in the movies, so I’m really not all that surprised.

    1. Short skirts and high heels? Where are those people? Goodness gracious! I remember wearing flats and tennies a lot. One of my favorite outfits in high school was a flowing skirt and Keds because that was super-comfortable. You make a great point that what teens wear is influenced by TV and movies.

  10. We’re very close to the same age (I graduated in ’89), so I immediately thought of other things different then from now:
    – A designated smoking area for the students
    – Students driving the buses
    – No air conditioning (and we were in the south, sob)

    Then again, I don’t have any kids myself, so maybe these are still common? I’m sort of going on hope that they aren’t, lol.

    1. Yes, there was a smoking area for students! I forgot about that. I think it was eliminated by the time I reached high school, but it was popular for years before. Students driving buses? Really? And good heavens, I don’t know how anyone survived classrooms in South Texas before the advent of air conditioning.

  11. A pizza hut and subway!? Where is this school and how can I go back to it?

    Nahh, I don’t think I’d do that, actually. I miss college, but not high school. I blended in fairly well, but had a wonderful group of friends. High school is such a confusing time because you struggle between wanting to be liked and wanting to be yourself. Sometimes those things don’t mesh. I much prefer college where being smart and different isn’t looked down upon as much!

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