High School Juniors Now and Then

My son, John, is starting his Junior year of high school this week. Junior year was my absolute favorite year of high school. Although I was one of the youngest in my class and didn’t turn sixteen until December most of my friends were older, and the freedom of going somewhere without asking a parent to drive you there and pick you up (especially living ten miles out in the country) was nothing short of spectacular.

There were usually at least four of us running around together: me, my best friend Wendy, my boyfriend, and his best friend Robert, who just happened to live out in the country near me. Friday nights were for football games or going to the movies. It didn’t matter which, because we saw the same people (all our classmates) whether we were in the stands or at North Park, our school’s designated shopping center and general place to hang around.

When I go to football games nowadays it seems the stands are filled by parents, with the student just in one section. I don’t remember seeing any parents at football games back then. Did not as many go, or at that age was everyone over age thirty just invisible to me? Probably the latter.

All my son’s free time is taken up by band practice. By the time I was a Junior I already had what looks good on a scholarship application memorized, so I was in every honorary available, and even started a new one just in case. I was a member of about a third of the clubs in school and held officer positions in as many as possible. I was part of every school musical even though I can’t sing or dance. Stage crew was lots of fun!

I made spectacular grades, but doing so was a lot easier then than it is now. We didn’t have cable. I had to go to someone else’s house to see Thriller for the first time. My little brother had an Atari game system, but that was about as good as it got. No cell phones, no call waiting, so no spending forever on the phone with friends because someone might call about something important.  No internet. But I had some mad skilz in the library. I loved the Dewey Decimal System. I was also great at diagraming sentences, another of those things they teach you in school that you never use again.

It was 1982-1983, so we were all wearing miniskirts and denim jackets with lots of buttons, and we sat out in line for concert tickets at a reasonable price and often got good seats. Ticketmaster sucks.

I think my high school offered one computer class – maybe two. My son goes to an IT magnet school and each student is issued a tablet at the beginning of the year to load books on. I carried all mine home in a purple Jansport backpack I bought at the UK bookstore.

I hope my son has as much fun as I did my Junior year. And by that I mean I hope he makes great memories with his friends without losing sight of his academic goals, not that he does the exact things I did. I packed an awful lot of fun into my high school years, but maybe it’s best if he paces himself so there’s still some fun to be had in college!


BTW, John – just found my old ACT score while I was looking for a pic to go with this post. Dare you to beat it!!

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6 thoughts on “High School Juniors Now and Then”

  1. I like the way you wove your experience together with your hopes for your son. Sounds as if you made the most of your high school years. I’d NEVER post my ACT scores online (although I think I got a 28)

  2. I don’t think you were talking to me, but I had a 29 on the ACT, including a 32 in math. Not that it means a thing now, if it ever did. Do they even give the ACT anymore?

    1. Believe it or not, they do! And it’s still the first thing colleges look at. I’ve always thought how odd it is that in school your GPA and ACT sccores are SO important, but when you get into the “real world” it’s about being on time, having good people skills, and thinking on your feet. Poor new grads!

  3. I loved junior year too! You really hit a stride by that time. There’s a little more confidence and hopefully you’ve got the friend situation figured out. So much fun. 🙂

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