High School Halls: Your Best Memory

Welcome to the last installment of my High School Halls series on this Deep-Fried Friday For this series, I’ve looked at high school then (when I was a teen in the ’80s) and high school now. If you want to check out any of these posts, click on the High School Halls tab on the menu bar.

Today’s subject is your best high school memory. I asked friends on Twitter and Facebook the opportunity to share their memories with me.

Here is a sampling:

Alica McKenna Johnson: This boy, Marc, came up to me in chem and said, ‘Alica if you ever want to date a real man let me know.’ I blinked and said, ‘do you know any real men?’ All the other girls were cracking up and the guys were snickering. It was great. Most of the time I think of great comebacks hours later, but I was in the zone. Lol.

Erin Brambilla: I loved competitions. We had them every Saturday during marching season. There’s something so fun about performing in front of a crowd (all there to appreciate band and not football ). And if I had to pinpoint one specific favorite band memory–it was probably when two of the older girls in band came up to me my sophomore year and told me I should try out for drum major. I probably wouldn’t have done it, but they said they thought I’d be good at it. So I tried out and I got it! And then I’d say telling my dad about getting the position was pretty awesome, too. I think he was just as excited as I was.

Donna GalantiProbably all the tricks I played on the nuns and skipping class.

Laura KreitzerLeaving!

Amber West I was an assistant to a first year teacher my Senior year. Lots of interesting memories from that one. 

Virginia Lori JenningsI was home-schooled… My favorite ‘high school memory’ is taking the pretest for the GED just to have the lady look at me with shock and awe when I turned in the math test so fast and then to tell me I scored higher than any of the other pretests she has seen in math. My look was of confused amazement…. Math is my weakest subject-> how bad is everyone else at math! 

Tiffany A. White:  It’s kinda sad, but the night we lost to our big football rivals our senior year. The players and trainers had grown so close over the previous three years, and that night our bonds showed. We sat in the weight room after the game, still in our game attire, and cried and hugged. It was one of the sweetest moments, even if we were all devastated.

August McLaughlinI had senioritis from sophomore year on, but adored all things music, writing and theater. Saving graces!

IJ VernSkipping classes to go play pool.

Christine Ashworth: Graduating. I never felt like I belonged in high school.

Catie RhodesGraduating? Never going back? LOL.

As for my best high school memories, they are mostly small incidents with friends–an encouraging comment, a fun evening out, a band or choir trip experience. One event, though, stands out for me–my senior prom. Here’s why:

  1. I didn’t go with anyone. I could have gotten a date, but I made the conscious decision to go alone and be the captain of my evening. I wore what I wanted, arrived when I wanted, danced as I wanted, left when I wanted. I treasure that choice because it demonstrated that I had finally realized that I could be happy without a relationship, that being me was far more important than being with anyone.
  2. My mother made my dress. She’s a talented seamstress, and in this case, dress designer. We talked about what I wanted, and she figured out how to make it. My dress was mirrored after Anita’s party dress from West Side Story, one of my favorite musicals.
  3. My father bought my corsage. Actually, it was a nosegay. However, I felt particularly special and loved when my dad presented me with a small bouquet of flowers that he had carefully chosen for my night. I knew in that moment that daddies love their daughters far more than any stinky ol’ high school boy could (unless, of course, that high school sweetheart ended up as your husband).
  4. I won Best Singer senior superlative. Among the Most Likely to Succeed and Best Couple awards was also girl and boy “Best Singer.” Although I was in choir, I had absolutely no anticipation that I would receive the award. It caught me off guard, in a tingle-to-my-toes kind of way.
  5. I spent the evening with good friends. I had a close group of friends and found plenty of guys to dance with. We chatted, laughed, and danced the night away. And my lovely girlfriends loaned me their dates when it came picture time. I have had great fun with this prom photo over the years, claiming that I had three dates instead of none.
My friends’ dates and ME
Senior Prom 1986

Perhaps that was foreshadowing of my current novel–SHARING HUNTER–in which Hunter Mills ends up at senior prom with two dates. I’m excited about this work in progress and love writing for teens.

Happy high school memories!

If you didn’t get a chance to share your best high school memory, please do so! What did/do you love/hate about the high school years?

High School Halls: Under the Disco Ball: School Dances

Turn down the lights and let the disco ball turn. It’s time for a school-sponsored dance on Deep-Fried Friday as part of my High School Halls series.

First, let’s all pause and wish that our high school dance had been like this:

I don’t remember dancing like that at any of ours.

That Was Then

My school had two major dances: Winter Ball and Junior/Senior Prom. If memory serves, I went to all of them. The Winter Ball was a semi-formal affair held at the campus. Guys wore suits or slacks and ties, while girls wore nice dresses–the kind of thing you might wear to a play or even church.

Prom was available only to juniors and seniors and their dates. It was held off site at a hotel ballroom, usually in downtown Corpus Christi near the bay. Guys wore tuxes, and girls wore formals.

The nights were themed, although the only one I remember is my senior prom which was simply called Caribbean Nights. (I loved the homecoming theme in Tiffany A. White’s Football Sweetheart. No, I’m not revealing it; you must read for yourself!)

At both dances, we had a DJ. The music was mostly contemporary, with some classics thrown in. We danced as couples, groups, and in line dances. I’m pretty sure The Cotton-Eyed Joe featured at every school dance, but as I’ve talked about before, that may be just a Texas phenomenon. I also vividly recall dancing the Schottische at my senior prom.

Here are a few pics of my dance days. Since I didn’t ask permission, I chose not to reveal my dates.

Sophomore Winter Ball
Sophomore Prom (with a Junior)
Junior Prom

Not exactly the cocktail dress from Pretty Woman, you know? Or even Molly Ringwald’s homemade dress design from Pretty in Pink. But they were reasonably fashionable for the 1980s.

This Is Now

Dances still abound. There are Homecoming dances, winter balls, spring formals, and graduation dances. I suppose teens will always want to dress up and strut their stuff onto a dance floor. They will always gyrate and shimmy under the disco ball and then fold themselves into a deep embrace for a slow song.

The general notion is the same, whether in the 1950s, the 1980s, or today. However, the appearance has changed.

Gone is the church dress look. Now it’s cocktail dresses and long formals all the way. It seems like the party dress section never leaves the department store these days. There’s always a dance in season for which teen girls are purchasing attire.

While I suspect the cost of my dress and everything else for me to attend any dance was easily less than $100, nowadays you can fork over an arm, a leg, and a kidney to attend a prom in style. Visa conducted a national survey this past spring, in which families said they would spend $696 to $1,944 on their kids’ prom costs (MSN Money). Way back in 2002, ABC News reported prom dresses, accessories, flowers, beauty products, and other prom-related expenses made for a $2.75 billion market. Indeed, some couples spend as much for prom as other couples spend on their wedding.

Prom Movie (2011)

(If you’re a teen reading this, I suggest that you won’t remember your flowers or the hairdo ten years from now nearly so much as the dancing and the friends. Save your money and go to Europe one summer instead.)

If students don’t have enough money for a proper dress or tux, they can check out local Prom Angel or Prom Princess offerings. Some school or charities now host shopping events for gently used formals.

Dances are still themed. Looking at 2012 prom themes, I found Parisian Nights, Puttin’ on the Ritz, Unmask the Night, Grecian Garden, Feelin’ Jazzy, Under the Sea, Bright Lights Big City, The Lion King, Masquerade, and even the literary-inspired Emerald City and Hogwarts Castle. Of course, not all literary themes are appropriate: No one wants to attend The Hunger Games prom. Themes all seem to come with the requisite streamers, balloons, confetti, and photo backdrops that give the night a special sparkle.

Bite Night Prom, anyone?

As for the music, I’m betting the Cotton-Eyed Joe has given way to the Cha Cha Slide and Gangnam Style. Fast dances will still mix with slow dances, and both couples and groups will find their way onto the dance floor.

Yes, you will remember these dances. Perhaps for the fun you had with friends or the fact that you waited all night long and that stupid jerk never remembered that he promised you a dance or the way that you felt like a king or queen as you danced the night away. When the lights go up and the disco ball stops turning, you will have your memories. Whether they are good or bad…is mostly up to you.

So what do you think? How was your prom? What do you like/dislike about school dances? Do you have any fond memories?

NOTE: I’m aware that many teens choose to drink alcohol on these evenings. If you drink, PLEASE do not drive. You do not want to remember this evening for the wrong reasons. For more information, see Natalie Hartford’s blog post about the I Promise campaign.

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