As a snapshot in history, yearbooks are a great way to see what was happening on campus in any particular year. Over the next few months I’ll choose a yearbook from each decade of San Dieguito’s history and share a few of the highlights, photos, and memories, doing my imperfect best to remind our 21st century audience what life at San Dieguito was like in years gone by.

photo-3-2After years of Mustangs galloping across the cover of San Dieguito’s Hoofprint, the student editorial staff of 1958 made the bold and incongruous decision to put a bonsai tree on the cover of their yearbook.

Breaking from expectation is a part of San Dieguito, where independence of spirit is embedded in the school’s DNA, and in 1958 that looked decidedly Asian.

Sputnik had reached orbit by 1958, and the duck-tail hair cuts and horn-rimmed glasses that look out from the pages of the Hoofprint speak to a time when the cold war was raging and Elvis was on every hi-fi, well, before he shipped out to Germany.

1958 was a busy year at San Dieguito, with a homecoming bonfire, a host of school activities, and a western themed Sadie Hawkins Dance.

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Athletics were big at San Dieguito in the 1950s, and from track to field hockey, smiling students show that representing the school brings pride and camaraderie. These athletes from half a century ago look so similar to the students of 2016; their determination, commitment to their sports, and sense of fun are familiar to those of us who cheer on Mustang athletes today.

photo-3-1Clubs abounded at San Dieguito in the middle part of the century, as they do now, though the clubs themselves were different in 1958, more focused on professional life after high school, including Future Farmers, Future Nurses, and a Rifle Club. Seeing students in military uniforms toting firearms in front of the school feels out of time today, but this was an age where fears about communism had Mr. Davidson, the superintendent, reminding the world that “The class of 1958 goes out into the world with one of the greatest privileges of freedom-the right to make choices.”

photo-5-1Formal photos fill the Hoofprint, as was usual for the first few decades of the school’s history, but 1958’s yearbook includes a few more candid pictures that show the smiles and laughter that filled San Dieguito’s campus. Students show up in fanciful hats, clowning in the quad, and a convertible filled with balloons.

Even the faculty, so often pictured in rigid poses and starched collars, is allowed some levity in the 1958 yearbook, and it’s a treat to see these adults in more relaxed poses smiling, clowning, and even laughing aloud. Life at San Dieguito has always included teachers who care, and these are folks who helped to shape the students’ San Dieguito memories.

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But, as always, school is about the kids, and the kids in this mid-century San Dieguito with their poodle skirts and plaid shirts, their letter sweaters and lopsided grins, occupy the pages of the Hoofprint with an attitude of school pride that is bold and courageous and looks ready to try something new, maybe even planting a bonsai tree.


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