High School Life 1970-1972: Yearbook Pictures From Your Average American School

If you want to get a picture of the life and times of a teenager, there’s no better source than the yearbook. Thumbing through the pages of these old tomes, one really gets transported back.  It’s also interesting to note the changes in styles, and many things would be considered unacceptable and politically incorrect by today’s standards.

The school is Woodlawn H.S.; it’s your typical American high school. I won’t specify the city or state, but it really doesn’t matter – a look at Woodlawn is a look at basically every high school across the country.

So, here are some images from their Class of ’71, ’72 and ’73 yearbooks. Enjoy.

school bus vintage

“As students arrive at school each morning, they look forward to another day at Woodlawn.”

Let’s face it, most of these kids weren’t clicking their heels together with joy at the prospect of starting another day of school.  Yearbooks always viewed school life with rose-colored glasses – as they should.  A truly realistic yearbook might be a tad depressing.

guidance counselor vintage

“Students pause for prayer at each pep rally at WHS.” – Well that’s a strict no-no these days at public schools.

school parking lot 1971

A look at the school’s parking lot in 1971.  A sight to behold for car lovers.

firearms practice vintage

“…Woodlawn’s rifle team practice for another year of competition”

I’m not sure this would fly today.  Maybe some schools still have a rifle team, but I think legal liabilities and public scorn have done away with most.

science lab 1973

Yikes! Shouldn’t somebody be wearing some protective eye-wear?  Oh, yeah I forgot – it’s the early seventies.

typing students vintage

“Typing students have a few moments to talk when no one is looking.”

I’m going to hazard a guess that the entire typing class is female.  Just a hunch.

homecoming court 1969

The Homecoming Court in 1969

dance 1971

Gettin’ down in the gym. What song do you think the cover band is playing?  My money is on “American Woman”.

1970s high school dance

teachers 1971

“The lounge provides a restful spot for conversation and relaxation for some of Woodlawn’s teachers.”

Take note of the ashtray.  A restful spot for relaxation indeed.

yearbook 1971

Dig those bright red pants with white belt. Now that’s what I call style.

I wish the resolution was a little better  so that I could get a good look at what eight-track tape Paula is listening to.

science class 1970s

Another look at science class.  Again – where’s the protective eye-wear?

1970s kids yearbook

Flirting and pretending to read.  The guys are on the prowl… but I think the fella at right is perhaps out of his league.

1970s school students

Is it just me, or do you get the distinct impression that these Speech II students all want a piece of Buddy?

homecoming court 1971

Homecoming court 1970.  Just as in the 1969 court, the ladies are rocking the big hats.

girl watching 1970s

“Happiness is ‘girl watching’ in the quadrangle after lunch in the cafeteria.”

Yeah, this wouldn’t fly in a yearbook today.  Ogling girls is frowned upon.

creepy yearbook photo

WTF?  There’s no caption or any explanation for this picture.  That “thing” lurking behind the fern is beyond creepy.

1971 youth and car

Um.  Perhaps we’ve taken a wrong turn.  This is where the popular kids hang out.  Let’s turn around before the quarterback gives us a wedgie.

high school prom 1970

They pulled out all the stops for the prom back then.  My school didn’t have “pageant trumpeters” though.

AV club 1970s

The A.V. Club – always exclusively for nerds.  These guys are all millionaires now I’m sure, but in ’71 none of these fellas were dating these girls… homecoming court 1971 (2)

art class 1970

I’m not sure whose legs are more distracting – Debi’s or Steve’s with his funked-out trousers.

1970 yearbook girls

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that miniskirts were clearly “in” during this time period.  I daresay not a single female student wears anything but a short dress throughout this entire yearbook.


1970s class yearbook

“Mr. Roge gets acquainted with two of his new students.”  Yeah, I’ll bet he does. That sly devil.

“Joys of homemaking’… another page that would be verboten in today’s yearbooks.

senior class officers 1970s yearbook

Check out the senior class officer just chillin’ in his ride.  Clearly the BMOC of Woodlawn.

junior class officers 1970s yearbook

A paisley shirt with white tie – now that’s a sharp-dressed young man.

Woodlawn High School

You know it’s an American yearbook when a quarter of its pages are devoted to the football team.

1970s high school basketball team

Well, if you were wondering where the African-American students were, here they are.  Sad to report that they don’t show up very often in the rest of the yearbook.

tennis team 1971 (2)

Is it just me, or were women’s tennis uniforms a lot shorter back then… and the majorettes as well….



And, finally we’ve come to the end of the school day.  “Students board buses after school, leaving behind a busy day at Woodlawn.”

school bus vintage 1970s

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