Let’s Look at Old Yearbooks and Laugh

This week, my school district (where I used to teach) started their new school year, and I’m feeling a bit nostalgic as I realize that the first batch of students I ever taught are seniors this year. It’s so strange to think that those unsure and slightly scared 7th graders who walked into my classroom are now just 9 months away from graduating and moving on into adulthood.


So, in honor of growing up and nostalgia and school years and yada yada, let’s take a fun little trip down yearbook memory lane and laugh at the awkwardness (er, awesomeness) of me, shall we?

7th Grade

In 7th grade, I still had the bangs I’d been rockin’ since childhood, I marked up my yearbook (as noted) with two important colors–purple for friends and orange for the crushes of me and/or my friends–and the shirt shown in this yearbook pic was *I think* my sister Hannah’s, since that was the time that clothing became important enough that I started regularly stealing (er, borrowing) clothes from her closet. (In fact, I wrote an English essay that my 7th grade English teacher read aloud to everyone without my permission that was all about how to steal clothes from my sister without her finding out. True story.)

Side note: If you take the time to squint closely at that yearbook spread above and those orange-marked crushes, you would even see such distinctions as “Cute!” or “Love the eyes!” or “HOT.” If Raven is even half as boy-crazy as I was, we are in some deeeep trouble, my friends. I was NUTS. And a little stupid.

Seventh grade was also the year that I started junior high (my elementary was K-6 and my junior high 7th – 9th), and it was a doozy–I was in an advanced math class, which meant that I literally had no classes with my friends (nor lunch with them, unfortunately). I did, however, become closer with my friend Rachel during this year, who had actually always hated me during elementary but since we were the only two in that particular lunch block, we rolled with it. (Thank goodness for that!)

Also, I should note that I’m not including ALL pictures of myself from my yearbooks in this post—just the funnier/more awkward/more representative pics.

Please note the “bang gap” going on above—

I never could figure out how to feather them evenly all the way across so there was no gappage.

8th grade

I started growing out my bangs between 7th and 8th grade, and it was awkward at first, to say the least.

However, as I’ve noted many times throughout my life as I’ve jumped on the bangs bandwagon and off again too many times, growing out bangs is ALWAYS awkward.

I actually don’t remember all that much about 8th grade academics-wise, but I do remember it was the worst school year of my life—friend drama, family drama…I dealt with a lot that year. If I remember correctly, I did run for student government then, though I didn’t win. That was my last time ever going for a traditional student body leadership position.

(And let’s all shout a little hallelujah that I had the good sense not to run for senior student body officer so that I didn’t have to plan class reunions for the rest of my life. Ugh.)

9th Grade

I remember this as the year that my yearbook photo was so bad that my mom refused to display it, ha ha. Because my sisters all went to the local beauty college to get their hair highlighted, I decided that that’s exactly what I should do too, and what followed were several reeeeeally bad blonde-ish months, followed up by several inches of super dark regrowth before I finally wised up and just dyed all my hair super dark again.

What I always find funny is that in 7th and 8th grade, most students stand in neat rows and smile obediently for the camera. By the time you’re in 9th grade and the kings of school, all such rules go out the window (naturally).

(Except in the citizenship photos, obvi—

I mean, if you’re on display for having the highest citizenship grades–based on stellar attendance, no tardies, and following rules to the letter–you’d best act like it for the photo, anyway.)

10th Grade

One of my favorite yearbook photos, and it was the only one my mom never bought (due to my 9th grade one being so bad that she take me to a studio halfway through my freshman year to get a professional one taken that stood in as both my freshman and sophomore picture on our mantel).

As you can see, the darker color makes me look much less creepy and bug-eyed than the washed-out blonde. Or maybe I’d just learned not to open my eyes as wide as I could for school pictures.

And let’s not leave Matt out of this, shall we? BECAUSE LOOK HOW CUTE HE IS.

My heck.

Matt and I met in high school, though probably not until junior?-ish year. (It was choir that brought us together. So romantic.)

(Except we didn’t date in high school. Don’t get excited.)

11th Grade

My high school yearbook photos were actually all decent enough that I didn’t want to die when I got them back (whereas in junior high, I got retakes EVERY SINGLE YEAR, and you already heard what happened after the 9th grade retake).

Apparently I was even more sarcastic in high school than I am now, with a humor that’s just as dry. I’m sure people then, as now, still don’t know when to take me seriously or not, so I’m all too used to the awkward silences and/or forced chuckles that follow my weird pronouncements. (Or I’ll just one day have to own up to the fact that I’m probably not as funny as I think I am.)

And then…LOOK AT THIS PICTURE OF MATT, YOU GUYS. I just die. (This is actually from our sophomore year album, so though he looks 13 here, he’s actually 16).

12th Grade

Ahhh, senior year—the year otherwise known as the year in which I “did all the things.”

I don’t know how I found time to sleep senior year, much less socialize. Between a huge load of AP classes, being president of the FCCLA club, being in show choir and musical and drama club and doing an internship at a junior high and working two part-time jobs and taking piano and guitar and voice lessons, I was maybe a *little* bit of an overachiever.

Just a bit.

Let’s talk about this awful Sterling Scholar pic. First, the school insisted that all Sterling Scholar winners had to go to this professional studio to get headshots done, and I’ve gotta say—I was excited. A chance for a photo shoot paid for by the school? Yes, please! (Because, let’s face it, I was a little vain in high school and loved getting my picture taken.)

AND THEY WERE THE WORST PICTURES EVER!!! And I mean, the WORST—not just for me, but for seemingly everyone.

Good thing I’m a blogger now and can stroke my vanity by being able to take and edit all my own pictures, right?

So I was president of the FCCLA club, but looking back, I was kinda the worst president ever. I mean, I showed up to all my meetings and stuff and attended almost all the activities, but I really only applied for the position because I wanted to look good on a resume (hurts to admit, but it’s the awful truth), so my heart wasn’t really in it. (Plus, I was involved in so many other things, it’s not like I had the time to really devote to it, ya know?!)
Yeah, I was in a bit over my head that year. Still had a pretty good time though.
And meanwhile, you have Matt killing it on the varsity wrestling time and growing out his curly hair to epic lengths.
In the story of our lives, Matt always seems to come across as more likeable and generally less dumb about stuff. I’ve learned to just roll with it and embrace my past (and present) moments of stupidity and immaturity.
(Although I will have you know that Matt, IN HIS MID-TWENTIES, could have gotten blown up by dynamite when he and his other college-age buddies were all playing with it out in the boonies. They freaking blew up a TREE, people!)

And that concludes our little trip down yearbook memory lane. I’m officially feeling both more and less awkward about myself than I did two hours ago.

Other Throwback Posts You Might Like:

This is What Aging 15 Years Looks Like
The Story of My Hair, in Pictures