10 Sure Signs It Was Spring at Your 1980s High School

Ah, spring at your 1980s high school!

The best time of the year, and the signs were all around us — flowers, birds, sunshine, car alarms.

No matter what stage of life you find yourself in, you can enjoy spring … and also reminisce about what spring used to be like.

In that spirit, here are five sure signs that always let you know it was spring at your 1980s high school.

Movie Projectors in Every Classroom

Teachers are people, too, and sometimes their best-laid plans for lesson plans just don’t work out.

In the 70s and 80s, you could tell when that had happened — or when teach had just mailed it in for the year — when you walked into class and found a reel-to-reel projector waiting for you.

No lectures, no quizzes, no homework … score!

And if you got just the right screw-it-all teacher … in, let’s say, Biology II for College-Bound Seniors (hypothetically) … well, then, you might have gotten a real education.

After all, not every kid’s parents let them watch Animal House or Porky’s at home.

Note: If you went to a rich school and don’t know what a movie projector is, just think, “VCR on the wall” and you’ll get the gist.

Stupid New Couples

In my experience, teenagers are like dogs just waiting for an opportunity — give them a stiff wind and two seconds alone and … coupling!

So, when warmer weather rolled around in the 1980s, we found our way to the local Miracle Mile for some cruising.

Or to the ball diamond or tennis courts to check out the, um, talent.

Or to Patty Gregg’s house on Saturday night when her parents were out of town.

And in those lust-at-first-sight settings, anything went … you just had to be standing there, pretty much.

That’s why Monday mornings in the spring found us gagging as the head cheerleader planted one on our last-chair saxophonist …

As the Harvard-bound class valedictorian walked hand-in-hand with the biker chick we thought died the year before …

As Mr. McDreamy flirted with the freshman bombshell who’s daddy was waiting at home with a shotgun.

A Car in the Swimming Pool

Look, if you didn’t pull a senior prank, then you’ve basically wasted your life.

Get yourself back to school right now and toilet-paper one of your old teachers to his chair.

It’ll be mild compared to what the best pranksters pulled off in the 1980s.

Remember the piano filled with Jell-O?

The sulfur bomb in the principal’s office? (“How ya doin’, Smelly?”)

All the teachers locked out of the building?

The Edsel in the school swimming pool?


Well, then, you are a very sad soul.


I lived in constant fear of swirlies for the first three years of my time at our combined junior-senior high school.

In case you don’t know what a swirly is (stop sleeping through life!), it’s when one or more bullies drags you into the bathroom, turns you upside down, dips your head into the toilet until your hair is pretty much covered, and flushes.

Bonus points if there is, um, matter in the toilet.

If you have any kind of hair length at all, and most of us did in the 80s, the “swirling” water twists your hair into a grotesque Ed Grimley thing.

From the time I was in Kindergarten, the big kids told me I’d get swirlies all the time in high school.

I didn’t … but they were a real thing.

And, like boners, bullies seemed to pop out in legion numbers during the spring.

If you were the slightest bit dweeby and dumb enough to get caught in the hallway alone, your head was as good as swirled.


In grade school, whacks were an everyday part of life. Kids are animals, basically, and the teachers and principal had to keep us in line.

In high school, though, we generally managed to keep things in line on our own.

In the spring, though, with the piss and vinegar running hot and strong in our veins, stuff got out of control on the regular.

And our teachers were pretty much done with our crap.

So, as March rounded into April and then May, you were bound to see one grown man smacking another (nearly) grown man on the ass with a gigantic wooden paddle.

And, seeing as how they were dealing with (nearly) grown men, school authorities tended to really get into their work.

How else are you going to send the correct message about dating the right sorts of people, after all?

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(Like 1980s High School? Then you might like our article on School Lunch Trays, click here.)

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