The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Back to School Night Reminds Parents of Good Old Days


Parents glance around the classroom where their children learn every day, the teacher’s voice fading to the background as their own memories of high school burst to the surface. Whether it’s the guy with the afro who always blocked the blackboard, the girl checking herself in the mirror, or the one teacher who marked tardies no matter how creative the excuse, Back to School Night caused parents to recollect past high school experiences and compare them to those of their children, who are now going through many of these same experiences.

According to parents, fashion trends have evolved since the time they went to high school.

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“[The fashion] was horrible,” said LAHS graduate Steve McDermott, parent of freshman Meghan. “It was very common for the boys to wear corduroy pants with big bell bottoms.”

Polly Caddes, parent of junior Hayley and freshman Jake, said that back in the day, it was all about “dittos and sbiccas.”

Sensing that neither “dittos” nor “sbiccas” are part of the modern student’s vocabulary, she elaborated.

“Dittos are pants with a horseshoe around your butt; they outlined it nicely,” said Caddes, who was her high school’s Viking mascot.  “We wore them in all sorts of pastel-y colors; my favorites were the yellow ones. Sbiccas were platform shoes.”

Likewise, parents said that the dress code has also significantly changed since they attended high school.

“You could only wear skirts and dresses,” said Janie Jaffe, mother of sophomore Morgan. “They came out with a yardstick and measured the length, and mine was too short, so I got sent home. That was very embarrassing.”

Many parents also remember humiliating moments from their high school years.

“I was shy,” said Gideon Marks, father of senior Lynn and sophomore Ron. “There was one case in biology when the teacher called my name a few times and I just didn’t respond. I didn’t know what the answer was. Instead of saying ‘I don’t know’ I just looked at her like an idiot.”

McDermott, who played football at LAHS with current coach Bill Waggoner, remembers attending a school dance where he was anything but shy.

“[A friend and I] were dancing so we took our shirts off because it was hot and we wanted to be cool, of course. In the middle of the dance floor, the football coach … hands us a key and goes, ‘You guys are an embarrassment. You need to go down to the weight room and lift weights and bulk up because you’re embarrassing me.’”

An encouraging majority of parents have remained in touch with their high school friends. Jaffe had actually talked to her high school best friend last Saturday.

“We met in third grade,” Jaffe said. “She’ll be here Thanksgiving, and I was just in Ohio to visit her in August, and I’ll be back there at Christmas.”

Some married couples actually met in high school. Caddes and her husband went to the same high school but weren’t friends at the time. She said that at their 10-year reunion, “some people thought it was a joke when we said we were engaged, because we were so different in high school.”

One parent, Amelia Corona, hopes her freshman daughter Jennifer will get the high school experience she never had.

“When I was ready to go to school and I really wanted to go, I didn’t have money,” Corona asid. “She has a better life because in Mexico you have to choose [to] go to school or work. I expect she will make all my dreams [come true].”

Back to School Night took place on Thursday, September 2 from 6 to 9 p.m.

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