Two-decade journey shows teens haven’t changed

Noelle Haselhuhn, Editor-in-chief

Grad 2006 (LS)by Noelle Haselhuhn
If one moves 10, 20, 30 years back into the past, he/she would discover that many changes have occurred.
Hairstyles, clothes, and experiences are very different because of the assortment of time periods. This realization raised the question: Are our high school experiences a lot different than our parent’s or much older siblings?
To investigate the past, this reporter searched through old issues of Cat Tracks and read stories from those dates.
In 1996 newspaper issues, headlines included “Drugs, transvestites, and fire,” “Learning how to give yourself massages can be useful,” and “What are you doing Spring Break?”
Topics of interest have evolved over the years, but teenagers interests have stayed relatively the same.
In the past, students have not only talked about parties they planned on attending, but they also discussed their vacation plans.
This reporter discovered that  other news events in the current decade are similar to events that occurred 10 and 20 years ago as well.
Notable ones from 1996 included the arrest of the Unabomber, the Taliban seizing control of Kabul (the capital of Afghanistan), and the U.S. having its fourth budget crisis.
In 2006, Hamas gains 74 of 132 seats in the Palestinian legislation elections. 2015 news events include terrorist attacks in Paris, Nigeria, Turkey, and the United States.
In each decade, instances of terror attacks, budget crisis, and general hardships have occurred. While the names and groups have changed, the world seems to have stayed the same.
This reporter discovered that a major news story topic that was constantly written about by the high school staff members in 1996 was AIDS. According to, “The number of new AIDS cases diagnosed in the U.S. declined for the first time since the beginning of the epidemic” in 1996.
According to Cat Tracks, AIDS was present in many students’ lives in various ways. Some described how people fight this disease, and other students described how it affected family members, though not necessarily their own.
Another standard in the editorials found in the 1996 issues of the high school newspaper was students’ struggle with substance abuse.
One anonymously wrote about his/her siblings descended into drugs.
Drugs and AIDS are not the only problems that were recorded during this time. According to http://nces.ed.go, “more than half of U.S. public schools reported experiencing at least one crime incident in school year 1996-97, and 1 in 10 schools reported at least one serious violent crime during that school year.”
Among other topics, the writers of Cat Tracks discussed their favorite movies, TV shows, and songs. According to, the No. 1 song from 1996 was “Macarena (Bayside Boys Remix)” by Los Del Rio. The No. 1 song from 2006 was “Bad Day” by Daniel Powter.
According to, some popular television shows from 1996 include, “Friends,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” and “X-Files.” According to, in 2006, “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” “Battlestar Galactica,” and “The Office” were quite popular.
Music, movies, culture, and style have all changed throughout the past 10 and 20 years.
According to, the top fashion trends of 1996 were chunky boots and shoes, sweater vest over a shirt, and tall socks.
This reporter observed that students displayed in the pictures from the issues of the 1996 issues were dressed in these fashions.
Over the next 10 years, apparel evolved into some new styles. According to, leggings, shoulder pads, and short shorts became the norm.
Some of the fashion styles from the 2000’s have stayed around. In 2015, leggings and short shorts are common clothing items.
Kids still worry about admission into college, studying,  their grades, their family/friends, and their social life. In the old newspaper issues, one will find many stories that relate to those topics.
In the end, this reporter discovered that the possibility of drastic changes in students in their teens is unlikely. One could even suggest that future teenagers in 10, 20, maybe even 50 years will have the same worries and ambitions as their predecessors.