Blast from the Past

W-L teachers at homecoming


Photos provided by teachers

Short dresses. High heels. School-approved DJ. Yes, it is homecoming season! But what was the dance like for our teachers at the school? 

Back to School!

Ninth grade English teacher Ms. Patrice Splan went to Washington-Liberty High School as a student!

She stated that there is an ebb and flow of fashion (often operating in what has been called a 20 year fashion cycle). As a high school teacher, Ms. Splan often sees elements from the ‘fits’ that she wore in high school from 2011 to 2014.

“Our outfits were very 2000s/2010s, but since much of 90s/2000s fashion has come back, it wasn’t too different from now: short dresses (some fitted and others a-line), heels or flats, khakis, button-down shirts, maybe a tie,” Ms. Splan said.

Ms. Splan stated that the music at homecoming depended on the DJ at the event.

 “Getting ready with my friends, seeing everyone dressed up at the dance, and then hanging out afterwards made it a fun, though sometimes chaotic, night from start to finish,” Ms. Splan said.

As a former W-L student, Ms. Splan has a unique perspective on the changes that administration has made since she was a high school student.

“We used to have homecoming in the cafeteria,” Ms. Splan said. “Having the dance in a smaller place made it more cozy, but also more crowded…For the most part, though, I think many aspects of homecoming are still the same as when I was a student.”

The Fashion of Homecoming 

10th and 11th grade English teacher Ms. Candice Barbara went to Mountain Lakes High School in Morris Country, New Jersey. She also enjoyed her homecoming experience.

“I had so much fun dressing up, dancing and standing on the side of the gym during slow songs because GROSS!” Ms. Barbara said.

While in 2022 it is popular to go to Winsor or Lulus for short dresses with high slits, when Ms. Barbara was in high school, there was a much different style.

“If you didn’t shop at Charlotte Russe did you even know what fashion was?” Ms. Barbara said. “Just kidding, but a lot of baby dolls with ruffles, bodycon dresses and sequins! I was always more of a jeans and flannel gal but for homecoming I always went with sequins.”

She got down to some sick beats from 2006 to 2010.

“Oh man… early 2000s music was and still is the best,” Ms. Barbara said. “2009 had some bangers like ‘Down’ by Jay Sean, ‘The Climb’ by Miley Cryus, and ‘In My Head’ by Jason Derulo.”

There were also differences in the attitude towards the event.

“When I was in high school… many moons ago… homecoming was not as big of a deal as it is now,” Ms. Barbara said. “If students didn’t go it wasn’t the end of the world, but today I feel like it is a must attend event. We had themes just like W-L does but W-L goes all out for their themes which I love.”

Drama Behind the Scenes

Ms. Jen Dean, social studies department chair and IB History of Americas (HOA) and IB Topics teacher, grew up close by in Montgomery County, Maryland. Her homecoming was at Good Counsel High School from 1993 to 1996.

“Oh man, sophomore year was interesting!” Ms. Dean said. “The ‘friends’ that I was supposed to go to dinner with told my date and I that they didn’t want to go to dinner with us AT the football game the night before the dance. Oh the drama! We ended up going with a different group, had a blast, and it helped me shed some fake people from my circle. Good riddance.”

The music (during her fall of 1994 homecoming) included Coolio, Oasis, Weezer, Whitney Houston (“I will always love you”) and Lisa Loeb (“Stay”). The music has changed, and so have the outfits.

“I don’t think girls wear pantyhose anymore!” Ms. Dean said. “Do people still do corsages? But short dresses at homecoming is still a thing, right? Do people still go to the football game but not really watch?”

However, similar to other teachers interviewed, Ms. Dean mentioned how some of the fashion has come full circle since she was in high school. From low-rise jeans to chunky shoes adapted to the current thick-bodied sneaker style, the homecoming fashion in 2022 takes inspiration from homecoming fashion of the past.

“[I wore] a black dress, pantyhose (omg) and my mom’s high heels, cause I didn’t have any of my own; I think today the dress would still work–a little black dress is always in fashion, but def[initely] not the [panty]hose or the shoes,” Ms. Dean said. 


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