Here are some photos that made me smile and a few observations. (More photos posted here)
Graduation in 1969: Held in a school where we could pray.
Graduation in 2009: Held in a church where they couldn't pray!
Notice the 3rd item on the graduation program was the INVOCATION.
Granted our Class President botched this majorly. Rumor had it there was possibly a little too much celebratory tippling before the ceremony? Regardless of how it was executed, a call for God's blessing on the class was considered to be an important part of the event by the graduation planners.
Other things have changed since 1969. Notice how we looked on our Senior Class trip to Washington DC; we all looked like proper ladies and gentlemen. The girls were all in skirts or dresses and boys wore sport coats and ties on our trip.
I remember the trip as being very enjoyable. We visited the major sites in Washington DC (Arlington and Supreme Court pictured) and spent a few days in New York City--all for around $250, if memory serves correctly. (We flew on a charter prop-jet.)
But whether on a class trip or at school, girls did not try to emulate the clothing style of women of ill repute or the likes of Britney Spears, as they do today. Sure, some pushed the envelope of how short a hem length could be worn, but the harlot/hooker look was not embraced by the mainstream.
Pants of any kind were not allowed for girls in school ever--not even on sub-zero days. (This was in the pre-pantyhose era! Brrr.)
Shorts were never allowed at school for anyone, except on one day in the spring. Our Student Council was granted special permission to hold a fundraiser: Bermuda Shorts Day. Students could wear Bermuda shorts (nearly to the knee) to school for that one designated day--IF they purchased a ticket for 25-cents!
There was no HG&D curriculum as we know it today and with the exception of biology and one special assembly, nothing was presented in a co-ed context. There was a series of Civil Defense emergency first aid movies that ended with how to deliver a baby. (This was still the Cold War we could be nuked at any moment era.) These were presented during segregated gym class time. In 9th grade co-ed Biology class, reproduction was presented but in a very clinical way--mainly dealing with the development of the embryo and not with the process leading up to conception.
Were there problems with underage drinking, illegal drugs, and premarital sex? Sure, but it was not as prevalent or overt as it is today. At the time, I was only vaguely aware some students did those things. Certainly no one would have ever thought about sending nude photos of themselves to anyone!
We did not spend years agonizing or studying for the ACT or SAT tests. As I recall, one Saturday, we just went over to UWM and took the ACT. That was it. Not all the pressure kids have today.
Forty years ago, quality family time was still a major component of daily life. Moms still cooked; families still ate dinner together without the kids surfing the net or texting on the cell phone at the table. Students did not go out much on school nights, nor were they so over scheduled that they did not have time to just be a kid.
We have made great progress in many ways. In other ways, such as the eroding of quality family time and over-sexing of our young people, things were better 4 decades ago. What will the next 10 years bring?