Have you ever wondered what OIHS was like before you were a part of it? Thousands of young adults have graduated from the tiny school that we all call our own — but it was not always like we know it now. A few decades ago, all classes K-12 were located in the red brick building, which is now the elementary school. What else has changed?
Corey Wiscomb, a 1993 OIHS alumnus and now our art teacher, remembers Mountain Bike Club. Becca Parish, who graduated from OIHS in 2005 and is now our Spanish teacher, was also a part of the Mountain Bike Club. Her favorite club, however, was the Spanish Club, in which she was able to visit both Honduras and Mexico. Leah Cardinell, now a paraeducator and a 2011 OIHS alumna, was a part of the Spanish Club as well, and also went on a separate trip to Italy. “I really miss the Europe trips that Val used to do,” said Cardinell. “We [also] used to go to New York every year for the UN.”
How have clubs in general have changed? “My memory of clubs is that there were a few students who were like, ‘you need to be in clubs because it’ll look good on your application,’ and that’s why most people joined Key Club and Ecology Club,” said Parish. Other clubs, however, were less focused on making an important change and more for fun — such as the Mountain Bike Club. Both Cardinell and Parish commented that the overall culture of OIHS has followed this same trend. “Everyone seems a little more ‘woke’ now… It’s definitely a more culturally accepting environment,” says Cardinell. Parish agrees, saying that during her high school years “there was not very much talk about anything equitable. That’s become a more national thing too.” This change is reflected, as Parish pointed out, in the school’s visits to the Orcas Center to see more in the community. This change could also be a result of cell phones, social media, and the internet.
Teens are possibly more connected to the outside world because it is easy to access. When asked how the overall culture of OIHS has changed since they went to school, Wiscomb, Parish, and Cardinell all indicated that the presence of cell phones has made a huge difference in the social life of teens. “We did stuff. We were always doing little adventures and camping trips, and when our parents let us we’d go off-island just to see a movie… or just go to the bowling alley” said Wiscomb. Nowadays, teens connect online rather than in person after school.
Technology is not the only thing that has changed around here. Homecoming has, in many ways, become more developed. When Parish graduated in 2005, there were no homecoming themes. “That’s a new tradition that I like — the theme is throughout the lip sync — because back then the lip syncs seemed to be all random… The themes for the parades were all ‘VIKING MASSACRE.’ All the floats were just ‘how Viking can you get?’” In 1993, there were no class lip syncs, which Wiscomb says is a great addition to our homecoming traditions. “Those are pretty cool, I love watching all the creativity that the students come up with.” The one part of homecoming that has left the school rather than been added was “Powderpuff Football,” where all the girls would put on the boys’ football gear and play flag football. “It was just kinda sexist, but some people loved it,” commented Parish, who was not a fan of the game.
It is easy to forget that the high school has been around for decades and has seen thousands of students graduate, but there is a lot of interesting history hidden within OIHS.