How Schools Have Changed

Lucy Cantrell explores what education was like at a Treasure Valley school in the 1960s

Lucy Cantrell, Features Writer

Have you ever wondered what school was like in the 1960s? I interviewed my grandpa, Dave Long, on March 9th, 2022. I asked him what school was like for him in the 1960s.

Long went to a private Christian school from 1966 to 1969, called Nampa Christian. He had Bible class every day in the morning and prayed before his class. Long’s dad, Wendell, was a teacher and taught him in two classes, Shop and Spanish. He also taught him to memorize a song called “Take My Life And Let It Be.”

Long had different classes every day and a different teacher for each class. One of his classes was recreation time.  He stated, “I played every sport they had, football, baseball, basketball, and track. I excelled in track.”

The desks were made out of maple wood, and they had lockers in the hallways. At the beginning of year junior high, the teacher said that if you don’t complete your work then you can pick your punishment. So he thought that was interesting that he got to pick his punishment. The kids picked to be spanked. Long did very well in Math. Spanish became a lifelong thing passion. Long dad helped him learn Spanish.

Long wore a uniform to school every day, which included pegged pants, white socks, and polished black dress shoes. Since Long polished his shoes, he got polish all over his white socks. Most of the boys had crew cuts after the war. Girls could have piercings, but not very many. They wore dresses and high heels.

At lunchtime, the state government provided the kid’s milk, cheese, and butter. They paid 25 cents for their meals. There was also a vending machine where kids could get different kinds of 8oz pop for only a nickel.

Back then most of the teachers were very strict. If kids did anything wrong, they could get sent to the principal’s office or even detention. If the kids acted out teachers would spank them. When the teacher had his back turned, the kids would always be acting up. Long even had a crystal radio with a ground wire to the radiator that he listened to it during class, although he never got caught.

Long said the biggest takeaway from those years was the teamwork that came from sports. In his later years, he had Bible studies with some of his friends from school and is still in contact with some of them to this day. The sports kept him moving and staying active.

In conclusion, there are multiple similarities between my and my grandpa’s schooling. If I could I would go to school in the 1960s because pop was only a nickel. In the future, I hope I can have close relationships with my friends after high school like my grandpa did.