published Thursday, March 11th, 2010

High school: 1970s vs. today

By Ramsey Pruitt

Valley Voices Staff Writer

Despite all that's changed culturally in the past 30 years, the one constant in teens' lives is high school.

According to Karen Reno, a teacher for almost 30 years who is currently teaching at Hamilton Heights Christian Academy, high school is basically the same as it has always been.

"Kids are basically the same; teenagers are teenagers," Ms. Reno said. "However, I think kids face more and different kinds of peer pressure today because of the world that we live in."

Here are some things students past and present had to say about different aspects of the high school experience.

1) Who was/is the hottest celebrity when you were in high school?

1970's:

"All the (actresses from) 'Charlie's Angels.' Like everyone else, my brother had a big poster of Farrah in his room. She was the big thing and all the girls wanted to look like her."

-- Steve Strickland, graduated in 1978 from Kempsville High School in Virginia Beach, VA

2010:

"Probably all of the 'Twilight' actors. So many people loved the books, so when the movies came out, everyone went crazy. Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner and Robert Pattinson are definitely the most popular celebrities today."

-- Stephanie Bautista, junior at Silverdale Baptist Academy

2) What did/does 'dating' mean?

1970's:

"Dating meant I was 'going out' with a girl on a regular basis, usually exclusively. Going out on a date would have typically been going to get something to eat or a football game. At school we would walk with each other between classes and ate lunch together."

-- Steve Strickland, graduated in 1978 from Kempsville High School in Virginia Beach, VA

2010:

"Dating is going out with somebody that you like and usually the guy pays. I look at it as the stage before you're considered 'boyfriend/girlfriend,' so I think it's pretty casual."

-- Eryn Hawks, senior at Chattanooga Christian School

3) What was/is the biggest fad or pop culture trend?

1970's:

"Elephant-leg, hip-hugger pants, halters and platform shoes were the biggest fads. The biggest thing in pop culture would have been hippies."

-- Lori West, graduated in 1976 from West Forsyth High School in Winston Salem, NC

2010:

"The biggest, most current fad going on today would have to be the rocker/punk style, guys and girls alike wearing skinny jeans, wearing crazy colors, etc."

-- Jesse Estes, freshman at Ringold High School

4) How did your school's athletic program influence school life?

1970's:

"On game days, (athletes) wore school jackets and uniforms and were treated as if they were our military defending our country. They were deemed more important than those who made 4.0 grade point averages"

-Lori West, graduated in 1976 from West Forsyth High School in Winston Salem, NC

2010:

"Athletics are the center of life for most students and a lot of teachers. In most cases, when an athlete gets in any trouble, their coach gets them out or the teacher lets them out of it."

-Jesse Estes, freshman at Ringgold High School

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