Hey grads, there was life before social media


This next week I will celebrate the 35th anniversary of my high school graduation. I always used to tell people that the 80’s rock group Van Halen released their album titled “1984” due to the momentous occasion of my finishing Newcastle High School, and then seeing them on tour just a month later, during David Lee Roth’s final year with the band.

I was thinking about all the things that have happened in my life during the past 35 years and how much has changed since I was in high school.

I started reflecting a few months ago when my brother called to let me know that my former speech and drama teacher Mary Burnett had died. Mrs. Burnett always pushed me to be the best communicator (motor mouth) and actor (used car salesman) that she saw in me.

She went above and beyond for me and I will never forget her even making a call to her college friend and Southeastern Oklahoma State University speech and drama professor to try and get me a scholarship, even though I could never have imagined living in Durant.

I was looking at all the high school graduates’ photos we handled this week in our Okarche Warrior, Piedmont Gazette and Yukon Progress special editions that recognize all these graduating seniors for their accomplishment. Our staff is in contact with the schools, local and area businesses who place their advertisements in these annual sections, and many of the parents and grandparents who order extra copies of these newspapers.

I know so many of these kids’ parents and grandparents who live throughout Canadian County and can remember when we published these sections that carried the parent’s photos, from back in the late 90’s.

What I find interesting about this Class of 2019 is that these kids were born in the first year of the new millennium 2001. Now some of you still think that 2000 was the first year of the new millennium when it was actually the last year of the second millennium. (1901-2000)

This year’s graduating class is the first group of 18-year-olds to have been born and completed all their school years in this millennium. They are a unique bunch. I thought I might point out some facts about this Class of 2019. I’m sure you will probably find this humorous and the Class of 2019 will think I am probably ready for Spanish Cove!

To help professors, and the rest of us understand these students, liberal arts school Beloit College has released its “Mindset” list to detail the facts about the world these kids grew up in. According to the list, since they’ve been alive:

1. GOOGLE has always been there, in its founding words, to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible.

2. They have never licked a postage stamp.

3. Email has become the new “formal” communication, while texts and tweets remain enclavs for the casual.

4. They have grown up treating Wi-Fi as an entitlement.

5. The announcement of someone being the “first woman” to hold a position has only impressed their parents.

6. Their parents have gone from encouraging them to use the internet to begging them to get off it.

7. When they were born, cell phone usage was so expensive that families only used their large phones, usually in cars, for emergencies.

8. Television has always been in such high definition that they could see the pores of actors and the grimaces of quarterbacks.

9. At least mom and dad had their new Nintendo 64 to help them get through long nights sitting up with the baby.

10. They were born the same year as the 9/11 attack. (World Trade Center, Pentagon)

11. They were born the same year the first iPod came out.

12. They have never used (and probably don’t know) what a floppy disk is.

13. ‘Spongebob Square Pants’ had already been on the air for two years when they were born.

14. Hashtags had already been invented when they were born.

15. Kids who will graduate in 2019 will never know the awkwardness of running into your “crush” at Blockbuster Video store on a Friday night while you and your family are preparing for family movie night!

16. The Class of 2019 mostly communicates with text messages and have no idea that it was once fashionable to ask a girl out on a date face-to-face!

17. The Class of 2019 do not know who their local Mayor is, who their City councilmember is or who their State Representative is……or how to count back change to customers.

18. The Class of 2019 do not know that Beyonce was once a part of the group Destiny’s Child who had the smash hit “Bootylicious.”

19. Family Guy was on the air before they were born.

20. The Class of 2019 is going out with “Big Bang Theory.”

Thanks so much for reading. I will see you next Saturday. Would you like a Progress?