Reminiscing about past brings back elementary, middle school memories
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On the playground of Deerfield Elementary School, a third grader stood dressed in knee high socks and a tutu. After surveying the scene, she noticed a fellow classmate and decided to bite her. From that point on, current sophomores Haley Wolcott and Grace Raney were best friends.
“She used to bite me and scratch me all the time,” Raney said.
However, since the initial violence, they’ve supported each other more than they’ve argued.
“[We] always have each other’s backs,” Wolcott said. “We know each other so well, we can read each other’s mind. We just know each other like sister.”
For Wolcott and Raney, the dynamic hasn’t been altered since the early days of their friendship.
“I don’t think much has changed,” Wolcott said. “We’re still always together. I think growing older, you just grow more mature. That’s the only thing that’s changed.”
Friendship was formed in a different way for seniors Garrett Swisher and Logan Dedloff. Originally friends with senior Sam Fanshier, Swisher caught his first glimpse of Dedloff while at his friend’s house.
“I was hanging out at Sam’s house one day, and Logan was just in his backyard jumping on his trampoline,” Swisher said.
Dedloff confirmed this.
“I would just go to the backyard and jump on their trampoline,” he said.
The circle of friends was completed when Swisher bonded with senior Tanner Liba.
“Tanner and I knew each other since kindergarten, but we really became friends in third grade because I found out he lived down the street from me and we went to Worlds of Fun together,” Swisher said.
This unlikely band of friends also believes that as a whole the friendship has remained the same, despite a few minute changes.
“Tanner and Garrett got tall, and I got scoliosis,” Dedloff said.
Longtime friends senior Kyler Elston and Monica Wilcox also believe their friendship has stayed relatively similar as they’ve grown. According to Elston, the friendship has had some problem itself, but has always been able to persevere.
“I’m not going to lie, we have been in a lot of arguments and fights, but … we’ve put our friendship first, and even when we did fight, we thought about it, and it wasn’t worth losing the friendship over,” he said.
Similar sentiments originated from Wilcox as well.
“We’re both very adapting,” she said.
During elementary school, Elston and Wilcox tried to put those adaptive skills to the test.
“At recess we would try to solve mysteries,” Wilcox said. “We tried to fix people’s problems, but we made them worse.”
Throughout their ten years of friendship, Elston and Wilcox have made plenty of memories, but the highlight of their elementary school years was watching, talking about and reliving the TV show Digimon.
“We both liked Digimon, so we would play it at recess,” Wilcox said. “It’s a TV show about digital monsters that fight crime.”
Not all elementary school memories are sweet and friendship-filled, however. Looking back at her first day of sixth grade, sophomore Eliza Haase-Divine cringes. According to Haase-Divine she donned straight bangs, graphic tees and ill-fitting jeans.
“Every single thing that I wore was awful,” she said. “Overall [I was] a mess.”
However, Haase-Divine is not the only high schooler to regret middle school outfits.
“In 7th grade I wore argyle sweaters,” freshman Will Byers said. “In 6th grade I wore gym shorts with shirts that didn’t match and the same black shoes every day.”
Recess and field trips provided the best school memories for Byers, but the best part of his childhood was just throwing around a football with friends.
“I lived in the best little neighborhood and everything,” he said. “It was all really fun, all one really good happy memory.”
For Swisher, the most memorable time from elementary school was when he received an entire recess of time out.
“I was on the log because I spelled my name ‘Carrett Swisher’ instead of ‘Garrett Swisher,’ and [my teacher] gave me 15 minutes on the log for that,” he said. “It’s not my favorite [memory], but I always remember it.”
Other major memories include waiting to play on the swings for Haase-Divine, pulling his pants down for Dedloff and playing outside for science teacher Jordan Rose.
Ten years after she graduated, English teacher Amanda Frederick is still at Free State. While her role has changed, she said the school has changed as well.
“It’s different than it was when I was here,” Frederick said. “I think it would have been creepy if it were exactly the same, and I probably wouldn’t have wanted to [teach here].”
Now in her second year of teaching, Frederick said her fondest memories are the band and choir trips she took during her high school career. Frederick was involved in chamber choir, chamber singers, band and even a Black Box play.
One of Frederick’s most notable changes from when she was a student to now is the new football field.
“We had a really early call time for all of the games for marching band,” she said. “We had to pack everything up into buses and trucks, go over to Haskell, play over there, pack everything up and then come back. Nobody knows how good they have it now.”
Other changes included more variety of businesses around the school.
“The school kind of felt like it was on the edge of town,” Frederick said.
According to Frederick the most important similarity from then ‘til now is the place of the arts.
“I like how we have so many different activities offered, like sports are a big deal, but also the arts are valued a lot,” she said. “It was like that when I was here.”
However, when Rose went to her reunion at Winfield High School, she noticed a change in the opposite direction: her high school has moved in the direction of offering more science- and math-related classes.
“The classes they’re offering are a little higher-level than we had back when I was there,” she said. “That’s one of those things where I think that … we’re consistently pushing kids to challenge themselves more into hitting those higher expectations, which I think is really great. The goal, as a parent or a teacher, is to have your kids progress past what you can even teach them.”
Though sports, school and extracurriculars took up much of Rose’s time in high school, her fondest memories are of the friends she made.
“I took pretty much the highest classes I could take in high school, but I was also in three sports … and I also had a lot of other extracurriculars like band, club and stuff like that,” she said. “I had some really close friends that I’m still friends with to this day, so building those relationships I would say would be one of my most favorite things that happened in high school.”
In high school Rose, did not imagine she would become a high school teacher, but after contacting then-athletic director Steve Grant, she became a coach at Free State.
“I really enjoyed the coaching and missed being involved in that,” she said. “So I coached first and then decided to teach after that.”
Though she didn’t expect to teach at her alma mater, Frederick said it is a great place to teach.
“When I was student teaching and studying a lot of different schools, I realized that I had always taken for granted how good a school Free State is, and having visited a lot of other ones and having done observations in a lot of other schools, I went, ‘Wow! I was actually lucky to be there,’” Frederick said. “It’s a good place to be a student, and be a teacher.”