That Was Then, This is Now

October 5, 2018

After graduation, students go off on their own to make new memories with new people and, more times than not, go to new places. Every so often, there will be some students who tend to stay back or come back to their hometown to start a career. At James Buchanan High School, there are some individuals who have gone here to school and now have started their careers.


Mrs. Rebecca Miller (Faculty) and Mr. Kevin Gustafson (Faculty) are only a couple of people who attended high school at James Buchanan. None of the faculty members planned on coming back to high school and work here.


“It was one of those things that just kind of happened and it was almost like a domino affect,” Miller said. “The door will open here and a window will open there and things happen all of a sudden just by luck.”


During their high school Careers, Miller and Gustafson were both involved in sports and clubs. Miller played basketball and was on the Yearbook committee. Gustafson played football, basketball, and track. He was also involved in National Honors Society. Being a part of activities has played a big part in their high school careers.


“Academics and athletics were my full time jobs while I was in High School.” said Gustafson.


As time moves forward, changes tend to happen. Some of the events at school altered or faded out. Twenty years later, Miller still remembers having an event that she always looked forward to at the end of the year.


“One thing that I really liked when I was a student was FAD Day,” Miller said. “It stood for free academic day where there was like all of these field trips that you could choose from. You could go to Baltimore, you could go to a Pittsburgh baseball game; You could go to the mall, or to a bowling alley. It was a school day, but you picked a field trip that you would want to go on.”


James Buchanan still celebrates school spirit, but back then, they had different events than what we have now. Participation in high school was considerably higher than what it is today.


“This school district used to have Color Day/Week,” said Gustafson. “Each class would be responsible for decorating a hallway with a theme.  At the end of the week, parents/community members would come into the school in the evening and walk through the building so they could admire all of the decorations.”


Nowadays, there are aspects of school that changed drastically. Technology has played a big role in formulating school work.

The technology integration has been significant from having a few computer labs to now having all students with laptops.” said Gustafson.


Academically, there have been more class opportunities given to students who were thinking about going to college.


“The chance to get college credit has changed a lot,” said Miller. “Like the HCC dual enrollment and the Mon-Alto classes; I don’t remember any of that.”


Over the years, the school itself has changed with updates. Despite this, the attitude of the  student body have stayed the same.


“Some teachers say that kids are different,” said Miller. “I think kids are just like kids from twenty years ago. They still have the same things that they worry about and things that make them laugh. People are people and I don’t think that part has changed a lot.”


All-in-all, former students who are now teachers remember James Buchanan as the same as today except for minor differences. Both Miller and Gustafson have fond memories they acquired while attending high school at James Buchanan.

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