Monday through Friday, students rush through the familiar main entrance, a set of corridors and a classroom door in order to start the day.
As they drop into their desks, catch up with their friends and watch the teacher approach the front of the class, is there anyone who blocks out all the noise for one second to think, ‘I wonder how high school was before my time?’
In 1990, Principal Kimberly Boldon graduated from Suitland High School in Prince George’s County, a school that she fondly remembers as the place that prepared her to be successful. “High school was a really positive experience for me,” Boldon said. “I was involved in tons of things and I had teachers who cared for me.”
Almost 30 years later, Boldon is familiar with the same opportunities that she had and excited with all the new opportunities today’s students have. “Back then, I was class president for a couple of years and I also got to be a part of SGA,” Boldon said. “Nowadays, I think it’s great that new technology gives students even more opportunities.”
In 2002, social studies teacher John Freundel graduated from Bishop McNamara High School, another Prince George’s County school. He reflects that there were only about 1,100 students on campus and computers were unbearably inefficient. “I didn’t like my tech classes because you were required to work with slow computers and you couldn’t really do much with them,” Freundel said.
Looking back, Freundel thinks that his high school era does have the current era beat in the sense that they did not rely as much on cell phones. “I loved that I didn’t have a cellphone,” Freundel said, “because the freedom without one is not experienced anymore.”
Now in his third year here, junior Greg Garcia appreciates the rise in security and the high caliber of the work he must put forth in his classes. “My mom went to Wootton but I think my experience here is harder because standards are higher than in the past,” Garcia said.
Garcia is content with receiving his diploma in the 2010s because he is happy with the technologically advanced environment. “All these changes are bonding society together and bringing us closer to a totally electronic future,” Garcia said.
No matter the personal experiences, high school has always been an important place to bring one’s “A” game, as Boldon relates with her own mother’s experience. “My mom moved from rural Virginia to urban New York when she was 13,” Boldon said, “but she still pushed herself to work hard in a much different environment and ended up getting a job with the federal government when she was 18.”
Now having found success as the head of a high school, Boldon is grateful to her parents for inspiring her to continue their legacy of academic excellence. “They were big proponents of education,” Boldon said. “They wanted me to prepare myself for college as the next step.”