Class
of 1975
Almost four decades separate us from our high
school days.
It’s been 35 years since
we walked out the door
of Central High School
into our futures.
Tonight we find ourselves
   thirty five years older
looking back at these long-
haired, bellbottomed kids.
  What were th...
Perhaps Charles Dickens best describes the complex
nature of high school with the opening words from his book
            ...
"It was the best of times,
     it was the worst of times;
     it was the age of wisdom,
  it was the age of foolishness;...
For some of us, high school was the best
 time of our lives…for others it was like
 having a root canal that lasted for th...
With the wisdom of time, we know that kids of
 all generations face challenges in high
 school – we were no different.

Ou...
Yet, we were the class of 1975…After thirty
 five years, I wonder…was there
 something about our high school
 experience t...
Like high school itself, the decade of the
  seventies was complicated and filled with
  contradictions.
The writer, Tom Wolfe,
described the
seventies as the Me
Generation – a time
when Americans
seemed to leave
behind the soc...
I wondered about this – so I went to three
  of our former high school teachers and
  asked them to compare students in th...
Paul Goodnature taught
 Humanities at Central High
 School. He thought students
 in the 1970’s were less aware
 of social ...
Lila Aas, English literature teacher at Central said “students often had
  a lot of opinions, but were reluctant to say th...
Leo Aeikins, German
  language teacher at
  Central, remembers an
  academic decline
  throughout the seventies
  at both ...
Yet, there was a lot to celebrate about the
much maligned seventies as well…
Technological
 advances showed
 the way into the
 future with the
 invention of the first
 RAM chip by Intel in
 1970, the...
Popular Culture, Fashion,
Music, Film, TV, Books and
more shaped our generation
and those generations to
come in significa...
And in spite of Tom Wolfe’s Me Generation
 mantra, as we look back at the seventies
 we can see that social activism in th...
Our children and
grandchildren live in a
better world because of
the steadfast work of
the environmental
movement, gay rig...
We did have a fair amount of social
 activism in Albert Lea during the
 seventies as well…maybe you
 participated in some ...
…the
efforts to
clean up
Shell
Rock
River.
The Walks for Development
     to end poverty.
Boycotts on behalf of
the Farm Workers of
America
Solidarity for the Pine Ridge Lakota at the second
Wounded Knee …
And of course there was many good works
 going on at our high school as well.
This is a picture from the 1975
Tiger of my wife, Jolyn
Thompson, giving blood when
the local Red Cross came to the
high s...
So what’s this all about?

 I think the bottom line is that our generation – the seventies – doesn’t
look too different fr...
So tonight we come together to celebrate
                 with each other.
   We celebrate those great kids we were 35
yea...
One last thing…

I wanted to share with you all my favorite pictures
from our 1975 year book.

I didn’t do many extracurri...
What an ending!
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Tom's power point2

  1. 1. Class of 1975
  2. 2. Almost four decades separate us from our high school days.
  3. 3. It’s been 35 years since we walked out the door of Central High School into our futures.
  4. 4. Tonight we find ourselves thirty five years older looking back at these long- haired, bellbottomed kids. What were those three years of our lives all about?
  5. 5. Perhaps Charles Dickens best describes the complex nature of high school with the opening words from his book A Tale of Two Cities:
  6. 6. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us ...”
  7. 7. For some of us, high school was the best time of our lives…for others it was like having a root canal that lasted for three very long years. Most of us take a stand somewhere between the two and remember those years as bittersweet.
  8. 8. With the wisdom of time, we know that kids of all generations face challenges in high school – we were no different. Our world was colored by issues of health, wealth - or more often poverty - drugs and alcohol, love and love lost – and anxiety about everything from will I do well in sports? Will I pass this class? should I try out for the school play? and always…what should I do for the rest of my life?
  9. 9. Yet, we were the class of 1975…After thirty five years, I wonder…was there something about our high school experience that was somehow different than that of others? Did our experience as children of the seventies shape our lives in some unique way?
  10. 10. Like high school itself, the decade of the seventies was complicated and filled with contradictions.
  11. 11. The writer, Tom Wolfe, described the seventies as the Me Generation – a time when Americans seemed to leave behind the social and political activism of the 1960’s and replace it with a new seemingly selfish focus on individual wellbeing.
  12. 12. I wondered about this – so I went to three of our former high school teachers and asked them to compare students in the 1960’s with student’s in the 1970’s. Were we selfish and self absorbed?
  13. 13. Paul Goodnature taught Humanities at Central High School. He thought students in the 1970’s were less aware of social issues than their contemporaries in the 1960’s. “The war and the draft kept students on their toes in the 1960’s,” Goodnature said “but the assassinations and wars of the 1960’s just seemed to produce a tiredness in the 1970’s.”
  14. 14. Lila Aas, English literature teacher at Central said “students often had a lot of opinions, but were reluctant to say them. Frankly, they lacked passion.” She did go on to say that participation in extracurricular activities – such as theater – remained strong throughout the decade.
  15. 15. Leo Aeikins, German language teacher at Central, remembers an academic decline throughout the seventies at both a college and high school level. In fact, nationally, the S.A.T. college entrance exam scores fell 16 points between 1970 and 1974 and in just one year, 1975, our senior year of high school, SAT scores dropped yet another 10 points.
  16. 16. Yet, there was a lot to celebrate about the much maligned seventies as well…
  17. 17. Technological advances showed the way into the future with the invention of the first RAM chip by Intel in 1970, the Apple I single-board computer in 1976 and the video game 'Space Invaders' released in 1979.
  18. 18. Popular Culture, Fashion, Music, Film, TV, Books and more shaped our generation and those generations to come in significant ways…what would the world be without the Rocky Horror Picture Show or Classic Rock?
  19. 19. And in spite of Tom Wolfe’s Me Generation mantra, as we look back at the seventies we can see that social activism in the larger world did not stop as the sixties sizzled out. In fact, the cultural changes in the seventies literally reinvented America.
  20. 20. Our children and grandchildren live in a better world because of the steadfast work of the environmental movement, gay rights, feminism, civil rights and of particular importance to us all here tonight – the gray panther movement and the AARP – all organizations that grew strong in the 1970’s.
  21. 21. We did have a fair amount of social activism in Albert Lea during the seventies as well…maybe you participated in some of these activities…
  22. 22. …the efforts to clean up Shell Rock River.
  23. 23. The Walks for Development to end poverty.
  24. 24. Boycotts on behalf of the Farm Workers of America
  25. 25. Solidarity for the Pine Ridge Lakota at the second Wounded Knee …
  26. 26. And of course there was many good works going on at our high school as well.
  27. 27. This is a picture from the 1975 Tiger of my wife, Jolyn Thompson, giving blood when the local Red Cross came to the high school. The women laying next to her is Janet Mathison – I think the guy with no head is Wade Henrichs… What you can not see is that I am laying two cots away giving blood – all in an attempt to impress the beautiful Jolyn. When the nurse told me to rest quietly after giving blood, I had to be the tough guy – stood up and keeled over in a dead faint right at Jolyn’s feet. It was not my proudest moment…
  28. 28. So what’s this all about? I think the bottom line is that our generation – the seventies – doesn’t look too different from the decade we are in today. We have fuel panics, over-population, ecological disasters, climate change, recessions, nine year old wars, conspiracy theories and paranoia. And the good news is (in the words of the immortal seventies singing legend, Gloria Gaynor), we have survived…we are still here.
  29. 29. So tonight we come together to celebrate with each other. We celebrate those great kids we were 35 years ago – and the adults we have become. We celebrate friends who are with us still – and raise our glasses to the memories of those who have left us. We celebrate and honor our school staff - those principals and teachers and lunch ladies and custodians and secretaries who mentored and encouraged us and sent us out into the world with their fingers crossed that we wouldn’t muck it up. We celebrate the memories of those three years and are grateful for their part in making us who we are today.
  30. 30. One last thing… I wanted to share with you all my favorite pictures from our 1975 year book. I didn’t do many extracurricular activities while in high school – actually, I didn’t do any…but I’m especially proud of my stint as a male cheerleader during a pep rally in the gym. My squad members are Matt Hoffman, Robert Wagner, Larry Kihlstadius, Dave Berg and Me.
  31. 31. What an ending!

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