Faculty Flashback Friday: teachers, staff share their high school stories

Courtesy Photo
High school secretary Pam Schmid as a cheerleader for the Bulldogs in Osceola.

Allegra H.

Whether you love it, hate it, or just can’t wait for it to be over, high school is part of our daily routines. While sometimes it seems everlasting, it eventually comes to an end and life moves forward. Reflecting on some of their most memorable high school moments, various David City High School faculty members give a glimpse of how their high school years shaped them into the people they are today.

While most students and teachers know school secretary Pam Schmid as a busy, cheerful face in the office, Schmid was once a somewhat shy student in Osceola. Despite her slightly timid nature, Schmid said she remembers being very social with her graduating class of 50 and participating in various activities throughout high school.

“Sports for girls weren’t big then. We didn’t have girls basketball, just track and volleyball, and I was not super athletic,” Schmid said. “I was a cheerleader through high school, and I did speech, the junior and senior class play, choir, and band. We didn’t have all the activities that you do now.”

In addition to limited sports for girls, Schmid said she also remembers fashion trends such as bellbottoms, pant suits, smocks and catchphrases such as “far out” and “out of sight” being prevalent throughout her high school’s hallways.

Although clothing crazes and trendy phrases may have topped the list for remembrances, Schmid, like many teenagers, also has strong memories about her first car in high school.

“My dad was very cheap, and my first car was a ‘61 Nova and everything was metal. Metal dash. Metal steering wheel,” Schmid said. “I was not the world’s best driver, so he found cheap cars for me. My brothers got the good cars.”

In comparing her high school to DCHS today, Schmid said the greatest similarity between the two is the genuine care teachers have for students and the relationships faculty members establish with them. However, one of the greatest differences she’s noticed is technology.

“Technology is so different; that part has really changed. Keyboarding back then was a manual typewriter and three electric typewriters, and we would fight over the electric typewriter,” Schmid said.

Another faculty member that identified technology as one of the largest differences between when he went to high school and students in high school today is assistant principal Chad Fuller.

“We actually had to talk to each other,” Fuller said. “There was no texting or email. You either had to talk over a landline or face-to-face.”

Although Fuller notes technology as a substantial change, he does recall having a bag phone (the large grandfather of cell phones often carried in equally large bags), a graphing calculator, and a laptop with word processing at his disposal. However, Fuller said he appreciated spending in-person time with his friends.

“Something that we did was cruising. I mean, on a Friday night, you got with your buddies and you cruised around because gas was cheap,” Fuller said.

Fuller’s high school experience was split into two different schools, one being in Cambridge, Neb. and another in Wellington, Kan. Even with this change, Fuller was very involved during his high school years.

“I was a jock. I was in football, wrestling, track, and baseball. But I was also in National Honor Society and show choir,” Fuller said.

One fashion trend that Fuller remembers being popular is Zubaz, loose-fitting, oversized pants that normally had loud prints on them. Another trend, Fuller said, was rolling up the bottoms of jeans for style purposes.

Special education teacher Tiffany Heins also recalls the rolled pants era. In addition to the jeans, Heins remembers trends such as big, teased hair, Dr. Martens, Converse, and Guess clothing.

Unlike many of the other faculty members, Heins is a DCHS alumna and even had some of the same teachers students have today.

“Mrs. Sander taught me, and Mrs. Backstrom taught me. I was Mr. Couch’s first sophomore class, so he taught me English. Mr. Griffiths and Mrs. Griffiths were also my teachers,” Heins said. “I think I wanted to become a teacher after being in Mr. Griffiths’s class because he was one of those people that established great relationships with [others].”

Outside of the classroom, Heins participated in several activities such as volleyball, softball, basketball, Spanish club, yearbook, National Honor Society, DC Club (a letterman club), and student council. Heins was even the president of her graduating class.

Even with her heavy student involvement, Heins recalls being an organized student who always worked to become better. She stated that one of the biggest differences she’s noticed in DCHS today is student mentalities.

“Students have changed a lot from when I was in high school. When I was in school, we were overall really studious, paid attention, and respected our teachers,” Heins said. “We did what was expected. I don’t remember a lot of people getting in trouble or going to the principal’s office. If you were given an assignment, you completed that assignment and had it ready for the next day.”

Though Heins remembers herself as being academically driven all throughout high school, industrial technology teacher Tahner Thiem said he wasn’t always focused on school work.

“I didn’t take school as seriously as I should have until probably my junior or senior year. Not saying that I had bad grades, but it didn’t bug me to have B’s,” Thiem said. “My junior and senior year I realized how important it really was to have better grades. I became more focused the further I got into school, and I regret it because I wouldn’t be paying as much for student loans right now.”

Thiem attended high school in Crete where the trends of long, blonde, curly hair and being involved in activities were the norm. He participated in FFA, FCA, student council, football and wrestling. Some of his most memorable times included playing tricks on his wrestling coach.

“We had a lot of fun experiences messing with [Coach] Mattox. We would play a lot of pranks on him, kind of like some of the wrestlers do today with our coaches,” Thiem said. “There was one day he started wrestling practice and we were all doing spin drills, which we all hated, and we all snuck whistles into practice. So, he would blow the whistle to start the drill and somebody would hide and blow the whistle to stop it.”

In spite of their different high school experiences, all four faculty members encourage today’s students to be involved in high school while they still can.

“My biggest advice would be to enjoy your high school years and partake in all the opportunities that are available to you, whether that be dressing up for a basketball game or joining a club or organization,” Heins said. “I hope students will embrace it and find those niches that they really have passions about and to excel in them and to make their high school education something that they will look back on and think, ‘That was a great time!’ Don’t be afraid to be a leader.”