10 Ridiculous Things that Happen at Small Town High Schools

3853_10152113158808964_915460716_nFound this little gem recently. The author’s “small town high school” was in Oregon, but it’s safe to say several of these apply to Oklahoma. (In our case, “the woods” would more accurately be “the lake.”) I’m not sure about Claremore, but I know that Oologah had an “8th-grade graduation” that was a pretty big deal. We had a song. And t-shirts. Also, fancy gowns worn by all the girls. (Luckily, I couldn’t find a photo of ME at 8th-grade graduation, but a classmate was kind enough to supply one!)  -Ashley

1. You graduate with the exact same people you met on the first day of kindergarten. Small towns tend to be insular places, which means–at the risk of sounding dramatic–few new people come in, and no one ever leaves. Your class roster doesn’t change much in 12 years (which is why the arrival of a “new kid” is such a momentous event), and it’s not uncommon to go to prom with the kid who barfed on you in second grade.

2. Half the people in your class have the same last name. And at least three-quarters of the class are cousins. In fact, the yearbook might be more accurately titled “the family tree.”

3. The FFA wields an impressive amount of power and popularity. Whether or not your family actually lived anywhere near a farm, it was a smart move to join the Future Farmers of America.

4. Eighth grade promotion is as lavish as many college graduations. I will never forget the time my friend Laila and I were discussing the details of our 8th grade promotion dresses and hairstyles in front of our friend Lydia, who went to a big school in the city. “What is 8th grade promotion?” she asked, and we were both stunned. “It’s when you graduate from middle school and you buy an expensive gown and get your hair done and walk down the aisle and get a diploma,” we explained. Lydia was totally perplexed. “Who cares about 8th grade?” she asked. People in small towns, that’s who. I got rid of my college graduation gown, but you betcha my promotion dress is still hanging in my closet.

5. “The woods” is a perfectly normal location for a party. Want to get drunk and shoot guns and make out? So does everyone else! Meet us in the forest half a mile off the highway–take a left at the big rock.

6. Line dancing is part of the Physical Education curriculum. Forget yoga and archery, when it’s time for PE, you put on your crusty uniform and line up in the gym to do the grapevine to the “Watermelon Crawl.” And trust me: when you’re 26 and go on a road trip and find yourself in a rural dive bar with a juke box, these skills will come in handy.

7. Getting stuck behind a tractor is a perfectly good excuse for being tardy. Driving a tractor to school is an even better excuse (“I tried to get here in time for the test, but my combine tops out at 26 MPH.”)

8. The football coach is also your history teacher and the librarian is also the lunch lady. Teachers at small schools have to wear many hats. Some of those hats are not necessarily supposed to be worn simultaneously, but whatever.

9. If you have older siblings, your reputations begins wherever theirs left off. Here’s how it works: on the first day of class, the teacher is doing roll call and they get to your last name and pause. They look up and say, “Any relation to (older sibling’s name)?,” you say yes, and then the teacher will either inform you that your sibling is a perfect human specimen you can never live up to, or sigh dramatically and mutter, “Oh good, another one.” Upperclassmen will also make sure you inherit any of your sibling’s nicknames.

10. Senior pranks often involve farm animals and/or manure. Both are so plentiful, it just makes good sense to utilize them, you know?

Full article written by Winona Dimeo-Ediger and can be found HERE.

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68 COMMENTS

  1. the most ridiculous thing about this artical is the fact that i graduated in 2000 and i can relate to everything on this list rofl.

  2. Accurate list and proud of it. I guess the author would feel more comfortable with gang shootings and major drugs and violence?

  3. Yep. My 9th grade English teacher on the first day: “Any relation to Jean Hutchinson?” Me: “Um, yes”. Teacher: “You’re not anything like her, are you?” Great first day. And–I think the author is using ridiculous in fun.

  4. This would have been my story and was for 13 years but had to move to town in the 8th grade, hated it wound up graduating in a class of over 300 that I still don’t know anything about.

  5. I graduated from a small-town high school; 70 people in my graduating class. I can relate to each of these facts, and I graduated in 1964. Some things never change, do they?

  6. I live in a small town AND we have a major drug problem. Not many gangs, though, except the wannabee ones.

  7. 1. Yep
    2. Nope
    3. Definite YES
    4. Nope. Never heard of such a thing.
    5. Yep
    6. Nope, but at many school dances
    7. Yep
    8. Yep
    9. Yep
    10. Nope, but maybe those in my town have more creativity.

  8. I grew up in the smallest town, in the most rural area of the Eastern seaboard, and about the only one I can even hardly relate with is #1 & #5. The rest sounds like, maybe back in the 1950s-70s.

  9. My kids will graduate from a small town school….13 in my oldest sons graduating class. We wouldn’t have it any other way. And I can’t WAIT for 8th grade graduation 😉

  10. Haha, these are pretty accurate. I can still look through my second grade year book and name nearly every single one of my classmates. At my high school someone’s idea of a “prank” was to put a deer carcass in a bag up in the ceiling above the cafeteria. It wasn’t found until the bag started leaking and dripping fluids though the ceiling tiles and onto the floor.

  11. #7 is very, very true. I am from a small town in Ohio and one of the chants at football and basketball games is “Start Your Tractors” or “Start Your Combines”, when the other team is about to lose, because it’s not uncommon to see a tractor/combine in the parking lot of the school and surrounding schools.
    As for 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, and 10, I can also verify all happen. Not so much for , 4, or 6.
    Number 5 is probably the most true on that list, however it’s not just woods, but fields and barns. It was actually more common for a huge party to happen in remote fields on back country roads that cops never went down or in barns.

  12. I think it’s because those of us who went to high school in large cities do not experience any of these, and most of them sound kinda crazy to those not from a small town. I don’t think it’s meant to be negative.

  13. Nail on the head.
    I would say that this list is specific to small towns in Texas. I had friends who would miss multiple days of class and were allowed to take naps because of family farming. The school/teachers were very understanding.
    I can also vouch for the FFA and the manure pranks. When all of your FFA barns and animal pens are right across the street from the HS, what do you expect?

  14. #11. You are not counted as tardy if it is the first day of a particular hunting season or if you got your deer that morning!

  15. Dude, me too. My area high school was around 5 different towns. A mix of rednecks and thug wannabes + boredom = A lot of problems, drug addictions, and alcoholics.

  16. Yes and my children had some of our teachers, the bus driver was the janitor and also the town selectmen and his grand daughter runs the post office. Love everything about it, even the cow tippin. 😀

  17. I grew up in Bonanza,Oregon..the school was k-12 and my graduating class totaled 32..the exact moment I knew having grown up there was my fondest childhood memory was when I went to my class reunion..Before I had even put my car in park everyone there was running towards me yelling my name..(i hadnt seen any of them for 20 yrs)It felt more like a family reunion than a simple class reunion.I love every one of them

  18. The area I grew up in was so small no high school in the county even had football (not enough money for stadiums and equipment)

  19. My children’s 8th grade math teacher was glad that there was only 3 of them. All uber smart in Math none did homework lowest grade ever 99.

  20. 1. No, because I was “the new kid” from 4th grade, and that label stuck with me until HS!
    2. Not within the same grade, but across all grades, definitely
    3. Yes
    4. Yes
    5. Yes; but instead of woods, it was so & so’s farm, or “that field along the crick (creek)”
    6. Line Dancing hadn’t become popular yet
    7. Yes
    8. Yes! Spot on!
    9. Yes
    10. Yes

  21. Small town Oregonian here. In my south coast hometown (although we have lots of forest to the east), the party is at the beach. The only question is— which beach? We have the east coast of the Pacific, and that makes for lots of beaches.

  22. This list is so true!! Especially number 10, for our senior prank we placed large hay bales in front of every entrance to the school so nobody could get in, until the principle brought his tractor to remove them lol

  23. My kid attended an inner-city school (k-8) in a major city…there was an 8th grade graduation ceremony. And it’s a HUGE deal. Parents throw graduation parties in rented halls, have them catered, etc. Meanwhile, I went to a suburban school and didn’t have an 8th grade graduation and when I moved to a small town (rural area with “area” schools and an FFA lol) I had to explain what 8th grade graduation was. So I think this might be more specific to the geographical area than as blanket as city/country.

  24. Instead of partying in the “woods” or the “lake”, in our small town it was the “river”. I am very grateful I got to experience big city life during my elementary & middle school years because it made me appreciate my small town high school experience much more. Who wants to go to school where there are so many people that you are just considered another number when you can go to a school where everyone has a voice & each kid matters because the classes aren’t overflowing & the teachers aren’t spread so thin.

  25. I think I win the smallest class award. My class had nine people left in it after I switched schools…No joke…

  26. The high school where I live (that I did not attend) actually has a Drive Your Tractor to School Day.

  27. I graduated in 2000, with about 70 people (give or take), and our graduation ceremony was longer than my Monroe Community College one with probably several thousand graduates…

  28. This sounds familiar. …. also my 6th grade teacher was my mothers history and drivers ed teacher she actually went into labor when she was in drivers ed smh….

  29. Graduating class of 100 here. Only thing not spot on was 50% having same last name. It was more like 25%, hehe. Also, I’d add, kids in the country tend to learn to drive earlier, have sex earlier, be more physically fit, less cliquey, and on average, have better public education. If I decided to have kids, I’d probably move out of the city and back where I grew up. Sadly, drugs are a big problem back home as well… and there was just a big murder case, so yeah, not all peaches and cream.

  30. Even though I graduated from Erskine Academy in the early 60’s, I can relate to almost all these comments. Although I remember the Shop guys took apart the principal’s car and erected it again on the roof. Quite an accomplishment. We, as seniors, were very proud of them. During the spring mud season, I remember, one girl was excused from class because no one could go pick her up. Her road was too muddy and slippery . We all thought she was so lucky.

  31. Let’s see, growing up in a small town, (graduating class of 72 or so, I can attest to the truth of some of these. The Jr. High US history teacher was the football coach, we did do a week of square dancing every year in Jr. High PE. and we did have a few kids who started in preschool and graduated together.

  32. My mom was my 6th grade English teacher. Since she was the only one, there was no choice. I never knew what to call her, so I said nothing. I got an A, because I knew if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to sit at the end of the grading period. LOL.

  33. My cousin was one of 13, and the only guy. I asked him if the Prom King vote was tight that year? He told me to ‘Shut Uuuuup!’ ha.

  34. […] 10 Ridiculous Things That Happen at Small Town High Schools.  Every single one is true, especially Grade 8 Graduation, parties in “the woods,” and line dancing in Phys.Ed classes.  And really, at a population of 30,000+ and the hometown of Justin Bieber, Stratford really isn’t that small. […]

  35. Or you get called by their name by all the teachers that had them. Or if you have any more siblings you get called all their names.

  36. I want to know why the author found these things ridiculous. A lot of kids & most teens &20 somethings who would benefit greatly by residing in a rural/ small town area.

  37. I am the youngest of 8 and at least 2 of my older siblings had all the same teachers, and some of the taechers also taught another brother. Plus, my brother Pete was a smart ass, so I feel ya. I can identify with most of the list.

  38. I teach in a rural school district. We have ‘Deer Day’ every year! If we didn’t, there would be no kids OR teachers there.

  39. 24 in my graduation class..we didn’t dance but did manage to make nitro in chemistry class lab….made quite the boom when it hit the ground.

  40. I was a military brat and went to so many different elementary schools and middle schools/junior highs. I was fortunate, however, to move to a small town when I entered my Freshman year of high school and graduated with that class of 90. Those were some of the best 4 years of my life and still makes me teary eyed when I think of it. You can add to that list: high fashion included dirty boots, ball caps, camo, wrangler jeans with skoal rings in the back pocket for men and your boyfriend’s letterman jacket or FFA jacket for girls. Homecoming was a HUGE event (and still is), along with 8th grade graduation. Much money was put into the coolest pick up trucks and our “hang outs” were the Dairyette and the “corner”. We partied at the lake and the dam.
    Yep – some of the best years of my life.
    My daughters went to city schools in a different state, graduating from classes of over 400. They have drug sniffing dogs constantly, go through metal detectors and the school is locked up like Ft. Knox. I understand we live in different times, but I would have loved for them to grow up in a small town.

  41. Or you get called by your mother’s name because a few of the teachers in the school are so old that they had your parents as students. Yep. True story.

  42. taking 3 pigs greasing them up and letting them loose in the school, paint the numbers 1, 3, and 4 on the pigs. The staff will have a fun day searching for pig number 2. Favorite senior prank.

  43. One of my teachers taught my dad when he was in high school. When he found out who my dad was he said “I’ll have to keep my eye on you” 😛 (Lucky for me I’m way different than dad was in school LOL)

  44. I went to a larger school. Class was a bit over 100. we still had plenty of kids graduate with me that I started school with. My second grade teacher (retiring the next year) had taught my father and his brothers and sisters. Parties where at the ‘woods’ or train trestle or some field. My wife had a class of only around 40. Some of high school was fun at times. Though was glad to get it over with and have not attended many reunions.

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