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Perspectives: interview with Bonnie White Keyes (1958-1960)

For the school’s 70th anniversary, Dylan Keyes interviewed his grandmother Bonnie White Keyes, who was a student at our school from 1958 through 1960 but later transferred to and graduated from Loudoun Valley High School after it was built due to Loudon County being overcrowded at the time.

Bonnie White Keyes (then Bonnie White) poses for her 10th grade photo, which appears in the 1960 edition of the Lord Loudoun yearbook.

Dylan Keyes: So what were the classrooms like back then?

Bonnie Keyes: Classrooms were basically the same as they are today. We had 20 to 21 students in each class, and they were just normal classrooms. They were all the same except Home Ec[onomics] and Shop, and I had Latin in a trailer.

Dylan Keyes: Was there any differences between the sports then versus now?

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Bonnie Keyes: There are a lot more options in sports now. We were very into football, baseball and basketball.

Dylan Keyes : Did you have just male sports teams or were there also sports teams for females?

Bonnie Keyes: It was basketball for females. Basically, [sports] were for males.

Dylan Keyes: Did you play or attend any of the sports?

Bonnie Keyes: No, I did not play any sports, but I did attend the football games.

Dylan Keyes: Were there any significant differences between males and females?

Bonnie Keyes: Well, the rules for males and females were a little different. Girls back then could only wear skirts or dresses. They couldn’t wear shorts or pants. And the dress wear for boys basically was the same way. They had to be just plain; they couldn’t have a motto on them.

Dylan Keyes: So back then, you didn’t go off A day, B day schedule. You went off of a seven class schedule?

Bonnie Keyes: Seven classes a day and we started at eight o’clock in the morning and school let out at 3:15.

Dylan Keyes: How long was each class?

Bonnie Keyes: About 45 minutes to an hour.

Dylan Keyes: Did all the students have lunch at the same time?

Bonnie Keyes: No, we had different lunches because the cafeteria wouldn’t hold all of us at one time.

Dylan Keyes: What classes did you have to take to graduate back then?

Bonnie Keyes: The normal classes, English, math, history, science, and just the same basic classes that kids have to take today.

Dylan Keyes: Were there any electives that you had to take? Like a language?

Bonnie Keyes: We had electives, but they are just what they said, electives. We had to learn languages. We could do what we called then typing class, which was to train girls basically to be secretaries and office people. And that’s it.

Dylan Keyes: Were the disciplinary actions any different back then?

Bonnie Keyes: Back then the teachers could, and a lot of them did, keep a ruler with them, and they could smack you smack your hands for disciplinary action, or you got sent to the principal.

Dylan Keyes: What did kids do to get the ruler?

Bonnie Keyes: I don’t know, I never got it, but stuff like talking

Dylan Keyes: Do you have suspensions and expulsions?

Bonnie Keyes: We did have those, yes.

Dylan Keyes: What was the gym like back then?

Bonnie Keyes: You had a basic gym suit that you had to wear. And the girls had their class and the boys had their class.

Dylan Keyes: Did you like gym? What was the best and worst thing about it?

Bonnie Keyes: I liked gym. The best part was giving us a break from class and giving us some exercise, and the worst was running in the heat.

Dylan Keyes: Did you guys still only do gym up until 10th grade?

Bonnie Keyes: Yes.

Dylan Keyes: Did you have honors and AP classes or some equivalent to those?

Bonnie Keyes: When I was in school, the diplomas were a general diploma, business diploma, or an academic diploma, and the academic would have the highest of classes.

Dylan Keyes: Did your school have any special education classes?

Bonnie Keyes: No.

Dylan Keyes: Were those separate schools altogether?

Bonnie Keyes: Yes.

Dylan Keyes: What time of year did school start?

Bonnie Keyes : We started school on the day after Labor Day. So it’d be September.

Dylan Keyes: What time of year did your school end?

Bonnie Keyes: In June like you guys.

Dylan Keyes: Was it earlier in June or later than it is now?

Bonnie Keyes: Well there were different dates each year. The year I graduated was on June 8.

Dylan Keyes: What was the cafeteria like back then?

Bonnie Keyes: The cafeteria was basically like it is now, where we would stand in line to get our lunches. We either chose to buy our lunch or to bring our lunch and if we bought lunch, it was a special meal that the schools made and you took whatever they had, if you chose to buy. so what would there be no sidebars with pizza or anything like that?

Dylan Keyes: Was it better buy or pack lunch, and what was the reputation of the food?

Bonnie Keyes: Well, I always bought and the food was good. It was like the cooking at home.

Dylan Keyes: Did they serve different foods back then than they do now?

Bonnie Keyes: Yes, we didn’t get pizza and cheeseburgers and hamburgers and so forth. It was either like meatloaf and green beans and applesauce or something like that. And always around Thanksgiving time we’d have a turkey meal.

Dylan Keyes: So back then, you didn’t really have a whole lot of technology?

Bonnie Keyes: No, we did not have computers. Pencil and paper, chalkboard and chalk is basically all we had.

Dylan Keyes: No Promethium boards or anything like that.

Bonnie Keyes: Yeah, none of that.

Dylan Keyes: So how many students went to your school at the time when you were there?

Bonnie Keyes: When I started in the eighth grade, we had 1,500 students. And because there were so many, that’s the year that they brought into trailers for the first time. We had classes in the trailers.

Dylan Keyes: So you started high school in the eighth grade?

Bonnie Keyes: Yes, there was no middle school. You went to elementary school first to seventh and high school from the eighth to the 12th.

Dylan Keyes: So do you have a favorite memory from your time at LCHS?

Bonnie Keyes: We had groups that came together and made friends and did things together, and basically they were the ones that we knew from elementary school.

Dylan Keyes: Okay. All right. Thank you.

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About the Contributor
Dylan Keyes, staff writer
Dylan is a junior at Loudoun County High School and this is his first year working for the newspaper. He hopes to write about things that are not commonly seen in The County Chronicle.

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