If you began kindergarten here at Central, you have spent at least nine years in this district, and it might seem like this school has always been the same. We grew up with the growth of technology at Central, beginning with the iPod carts that you would see maybe once a month. To us, Central has always been this way. But if we look back at how the high school was years ago, how have things changed?
For my seniors out there, this one might be the hardest to stomach. Senior release only happened once during the 6-day schedule that seems to be non-existent after we no longer had specials. Another hard one for seniors, no free periods were allowed. While a few -- and really, just a few -- students had one for dual enrollment, it was not allowed for anyone to have a simply empty period.
“I think the biggest change is the amount of freedoms that the students are given. There are many more schedule-related options and overall choices in personalizing education that were not available to us,” said health teacher, as well as 2007 Central graduate, Kirk Ensminger.
As for dual enrollment, for many students it’s the best way to raise GPA and earn some college credits early, but the popularity of college classes as a high schooler is only very recent. Even just five years ago, if students did partake in this opportunity, it was often only one class senior year, as opposed to many students who now have one each semester or even two!
Last one for the seniors, with graduation arriving soon, we each choose our color of cap and gown, but in the past, girls had to wear orange and boys, black. Additionally, prior to graduation, seniors had to mingle with everyone in the regular cafeteria, the popular senior café was not there yet.
Though not loved in gym class, the much-used pool and natatorium also was not constructed until recently. In formative years, the swim team practiced at Northeastern’s pool, giving some rivalry between the teams now. As for gym, there was no wet hair walking to and from class, no awkward changing in front of peers.
A new pool is all good and fun, but what about a whole new building? What we now call ours was first used in 2006 and has been a hub for students ever since. The old high school in North York is now the York Learning Center off of North George Street.
The school parking lot can get a bit messy today, but imagine having designated spots to park based on your class. In the past, upperclassmen were allowed to park closer to the school, with underclassmen parking around the outside of the school. If you were an underclassman and parked in the upperclassman area, your car was booted and could be removed for $10. If you didn't have a parking pass, your car was booted with the same price tag attached.
As for the freshman, this trend might be around in your class, but the whole school used to be required to wear ID badges at all times. If you were caught without your ID, you were immediately sentenced to detention. Additionally, if your lanyard wasn’t break-away, that was a detention as well. Talk to anyone now and it seems we have all lost our once-required identification.
“I was never personally disciplined for not having my ID, but there were certainly students who were. We were required to wear them on a lanyard around our necks, so they were visible. Although it could work, I do not see schools going back to that procedure,” said Ensminger.
The student section today goes to many sports from football and basketball to ice hockey and lacrosse. Though many sports are popular with both students and community, lacrosse didn't used to be a part of Central.
While there were many parts of middle school that just weren’t the best, I hated the passbooks the most. You only received a certain amount of passes for the whole school year and if you ran out, you couldn't use the bathroom or go where you needed. While we look back at this with horror, these passes used to be a part of the high school as well. Imagine using a slot every time you had to print something at the hub, or “library” if we really look at how it used to be -- oof.
Overall, the 13 years in this building have had their ups and downs. Past students and graduates note the increase in technology, as well as the time of the school day. We have improved, expanded and changed many aspects of the school, as well as drastically changed the student body. Today, we may take for granted many of the things Central has, but it wasn’t always this way. What’s next?