Students share their thoughts on the 1960s
After hearing from a series of guest speakers, Berkeley Springs High School students in the History of Rock and Roll class thought the 1960s were much different than today, but they also saw similarities between the generations.
Brandon Rodgers thought the culture of the 1960s was “way different” because young people then were more focused and into their politics and the state of the world was different.
“When they grew up, there was mostly peace and a little war. We grew up with 9/11 and have mostly seen nothing but war for the last 10 or 11 years,” Rodgers said.
“People our age are judged a lot by our dress, how we talk and by the music we listen to,” Noah Shackelford said, noting that it was the same back then.
Brandon Krawczky liked how youth then were so open about everything they did.
“We have a lot in common with them. We can relate to them, but also differ,” he said.
Rodgers said clothing is a lot different now. Students can wear jeans and t-shirts to school and “can dress, act and be who we want to be,” while teens in the 1960s had to stay clean cut and shave.
Rodgers also felt today’s generation is more aware of drugs and their consequences than kids used to be.
“We know what marijuana, acid and cocaine can do to you. We’re more educated,” he said.
The music is different and has definitely changed over the years, Shackelford said.
But just as it was for teens in the Sixties, “music is still a big influence in our lives,” Krawczky said.
Students noted how quickly music changed in the 1960s. Bob Dylan’s music changed in just six months, Rodgers said.
Jimi Hendrix changed music a lot, according to Jade MacCumbee. He remembered Hendrix playing guitar with his teeth.
He felt 1960s music was different from what’s around now. People were basically classified by music they listened to then.
Aubrey Hoffman noted how the music is similar and how pieces of music of the 1960s are interpreted through music now. Today’s music evolved from the music then and that music evolved from music before it, she said
Hoffman, a musician, felt there are more styles and more ways to “mess around with music” today.
New artists coming out today owe their beginnings to musicians from the 1960s, Rodgers said.
Students really connected with Vietnam veteran Howard Hartman who talked with them about his war experiences.
“He told us his whole life story and answered questions before they even asked them, with everything in detail,” Krawczky said.
He said people spit on Hartman and called him a baby killer when he came home. Michael Raymond felt it was awful that returning Vietnam veterans were called baby killers. “They went over there and sacrificed their lives,” he said.
Mikey Bereszi said that hearing Hartman talk was a big life lesson.
Adrian Bates believed that schools should have more historical guest speakers. Rodgers and MacCumbee agreed, saying that having people come in to class enabled them to hear about real life experiences from which they could benefit.
“You can actually learn from them,” Bereszi said.
Jalyssa Shifflett thought it was cool to hear how the school had changed from guest Joie McCumbee. She liked the music he played.
A few speakers asked if students had dinner with their families and encouraged more family time.
Some urged young people to start thinking about what they were going to do with their life after graduation, said Teacher Kathy Seager.