Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Thanks for the Memories!

I know this is a horrible photo, but trust me when I say that it is a shot of the last page of the 2009 Palos Verdes High School yearbook and yes, it says "477." Is in four-hundred-seventy-seven-freaking-pages in this yearbook. It was actually the first thing I noticed when I picked the thing up; that it actually was physically painful to hold this book, it was so heavy.

If this were a coffee table book, some editor would have cut it off at a mere 301 pages (the length of the 1988 PVHS yearbook), because the ergonomics of the thing are way off.

So, class of 2009, you can take your tend0nitis-inducing 500-pager, with its glossy paper and swanky graphic design. I like my black-and-white-special, circa 1988!

This is my last post on The Yearbook Project. Thanks for the memories, PV High!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Language Lessons

In 1988, we had four language options: Spanish, French, German and Latin. The various language clubs did pretty standard things, like go to the Red Onion Restaurant for their annual Spanish Club dinner. The most adventurous thing was a trip to Tijuana, which could not possibly have been fancy. Full of donkeys and booze, maybe, but definitely not glamorous.

Me? I took Latin, which was barely hanging by a thread and apparently died out. Did we take a trip to Rome? Not exactly. More like to Whittier for the National Junior Classical League annual dorkfest.

No wonder Latin died out, when I check the modern-day language activities.

In 2009, students can choose from Spanish, French or Chinese languages. I'm have a feeling that Spanish is by far the most popular language, given that the students took a trip . . . to SPAIN! As the yearbook says, "This past summer, a group of Spanish students traveled to Spain in order to gain exposure to the true culture of this extraordinary country." Yeah, that is understandable. I mean, it's not like anyone speaks Spanish in Los Angeles. They gotta go to the motherland for real immersion, right?

The captions on these photos read: "Sea Kings stop to smile for the camera on their way to their Spanish class," and "Students traveling to Spain took a break from their language lessons to catch a wave in the Mediterranean." Awesome, it's not like there is surfing in Los Angeles, either!

Seems like the Chinese language class has some catching up to do. The 2009 yearbook tells us that they get their culture by having the South Bay Chinese School come in and "teach us about calligraphy, the Chinese yoyo, and traditional knots."

2009: Not so "Cheer"ful

As a blurry-eyed PV High freshman, I could never keep straight all the various flavors of "Cheerleader" at my school. There were so many uniforms, and all the girls looked so cute to me, how could I ever know who was on which squad? Looking back at my yearbook, the source of my confusion is clear. We had all of the following: Cheerleading, Songleaders, Drill Team, Novelty Drill Team, Military Drill Team, Dance Drill Team, Pep Squad, Flag Twirlers and Tall Flags.

I am exhausted just writing that list! My theory was that PV High was so status-conscious that everyone wanted to say that they were somehow a "cheerleader." By offering that mind-numbing list of cheer-light flavors, everyone gets a piece of the action. And I'm sure there was no shortage of parental support for all of these programs, given what I know of the competitive nature of PV Moms.

Today, the list is down to two: Cheer and Song. Simple, right? Although the uber-cute black outfits and red hair ribbons are almost indistinguishable. And both seem to employ pompoms, hmmmm . . .

I'm not convinced that this list won't grow, though. PVHS was closed for about 10 years in the 90s and only re-opened in 2002. I bet the slate was wiped clean when the school re-opened, and there will be a proliferation of dancey-girl-groups in the coming years.

My favorite thing about this topic is the social heirarchy that developed at 1980s PVHS. I could never ever keep track of it. To this day, I have a friend, who is pushing 40, mind you, who still gets livid every time I say, "You were on Rifles, right?" Her reply is always a vehement, "I was NOT on RIFLES!" Ohhhh, so sorry, you were a Flag Twirler? Not Novelty Drill Team, or was it? HA!

Oriental Culture Club

When I was a freshman in 1988, there was a single group on campus for all people Asian, and it was called the Oriental Culture Club. Not only was no distinction was made among this diverse group, but we hadn't yet applied the now-p.c. term "Asian."

In 2009, calling someone an "Oriental" is about as bad as saying "Colored," so it's no surprise that the club is gone. In its place are the Korean Culture Club and the Pinoy Culture Club. That was a new one for me- Pinoy. Although I won't be using it in casual conversation, since Wikipedia tells me that some find the term derogatory.

Whatever the term used, I want to hang with the Pinoy Club folks. The Pinoy President says, "We value the importance of being culturally diverse, but at the same time, keepin [sic] it real 24/7."

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Where have all the stoners gone?

When I attended Palos Verdes High School in 1988, all the stoners (and we called them "stoners" back then. What are they called now? Please advise via blog comment) took Ceramics. I don't know why that was the case- did they make pipes? Not sure, but it seemed to be a mandatory class for all the surfer-types.

In leafing through the yearbook, it was clear where this demographic had gone: Surfboard Shaping class!


Don't ask me, I have no idea what the deal is with the class. All I know is that it is awesome. Or rad? Or bitchin'? That's what it would have been in 1988, if it had been offered.

The yearbook says that “Juniors and Seniors hand cut their own hand made custom surfobaords” using fibergloass, Styrofoam and epoxy resin. It takes 12 weeks to make one short board, and then they can graduate to making another short board or a long board. ”Surfboard Shaping is a class which consistently fills to capacity each semester.”

This is a photo of the Surfboard Shaping teacher. Please note: He also teaches Ceramics. This one will go in the category of "modern interpretation of that which is shockingly similar."

Best Dressed

Like the initial posting, this photo threw me: what year was it? Had I mixed up the 1988 and 2009 yearbooks? The cute girl in the photo looks exactly like a girl well-dressed girl named Tanya who I went to school with: the over-sized fluorescent pink hoop earrings, the matching slouchy pink belt, the white leggings. Madonna-wannabes would be proud!

OMG, noooooooooo! This look is now considered retro! Just like the girls in my high school who wore 1960s-inspired fashions, this girl is wearing the style of 20 years prior. Holy crap, I am old!

Girls High School Sports: Then and Now

In 1988, we had what I thought were pretty standard sports. Available to both boys and girls in 1988 were: Cross Country; Track & Field; Basketball; Baseball/Softball; Soccer; Tennis; Volleyball; Swimming. Boys additionally had Football, Water Polo, and Golf; girls had Cheerleading and Gymnastics.

So I was a bit shocked to see the proliferation of sports, especially the ones for girls. In addition to the above, both boys and girls have access to Lacrosse, Surfing and Sailing. Girls now have their own Golf and Water Polo teams, as well as Equestrian! To balance that out, boys get Hockey. Not sure where Gymnastics went, or the Wrestling that must have died out in the early 80s.

These images of girls kicking butt in Golf, Surfing and Water Polo are really amazing to me. I still don't understand how one competes in surfing, where they compete (the ocean, DUH, I know), or who they "play," but man does it seem cool. I'd be curious to know the social standing of the surfer-girls: are they respected, like Track & Field girls? considered hot, like Volleyball girls? or too tomboyish, like Softball? Maybe I'll have to find a 2019 yearbook to see how that one plays out.
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