Celebrating the 50th Reunion of the class of 1971 Yorktown High School

Jean McGavin, YHS 71

This is an amazing thing to be celebrating 50 years since we graduated! A high school is a shell of a building and its grounds. What makes high school vital in our lives, what makes us return for reunions, makes us want to connect, are the experiences we had in those 3 years. Our classmates, the teachers, the clubs or activities, all of which created a climate, influenced our futures in good ways and bad. These people and experiences shaped us perhaps as much as anything else in our lives.

Our memories of those times take on new meaning as we age away from them and see them with fresh perspectives and wisdom. At the time we likely experienced Yorktown as an annoyance, a place we had to be, a gauntlet of social distress and challenges. And yet in retrospect, we may all see a profoundly positive influence from a teacher or a friend or a coach. Our fiercest memories might be of the cafeteria, or football games or dances, or the principal’s office or taking SATs. And even though all of these memories may play out in similar fashion in high schools all over the world, each student’s memories are singular and the collected memories of our class will present a high school experience that is singular to that year, that school, that town, that country.

Think of what was happening in the world in 1971! The Viet Nam war was in full swing - some of our siblings or friends may have been in that war. Struggles for racial equality were raging, the environmental crisis was erupting, and social changes were upending so many norms. This was a time of great upheaval. And yet, the larger world may not even enter our memories of Yorktown.

Your participation in this group project will help to share what Yorktown was like in 1971. These stories will provide important historical context about Yorktown. Your stories will fill in the gaps in reporting of big news-making events. Your stories will sit alongside the big stories of the day as well as stories of other high schools around the world, and shine a light on how they differed and how they are similar and what seemed to work and what didn’t. Your stories are important. Think of each story as a puzzle piece - each of them is crucial to presenting the full picture.

Below are questions that, when answered, will provide glimpses into life at Yorktown that can only be captured by former students. We hope you will enjoy reminiscing and sharing your memories of Yorktown.

Your stories will be hosted on History Chip. History Chip is a platform for oral history and storytelling which enables storytellers all over the world to discuss their personal experiences. By including stories from all of us, History Chip provides a more complete picture of global history. With History Chip you are equipped with the means to ensure that your stories are remembered and a global community eager to read those stories. History Chip is your voice, your writing, your story and an essential part of the majestic history of our world. Not only that, but think about what these collected stories will mean for your children and grandchildren! These collected stories will give them an amazing picture of your teenage years.

Yorktown 50th Reunion Questions

These questions are here to jog your memories and to inspire you tell us stories about your time at Yorktown. Please answer as many as you are able. You are not required to answer them all.

How To Upload Your Story to History Chip:

To start off with sharing your story, click this link to head over to History Chip.

Next, if you have a History Chip account log in, and if not, register for an account. To register click Log in/Register at the top left of the page (pictured below)

Next, click register next to “Don’t have an account” and follow the directions that follow on screen.

Once you’ve created your account click the “Add Your Story” button on the home page, or click this link.

Finally, write and title your story in the text box. Although it is not required, we recommend that you upload an image to headline your story.