It was 70 years ago when these six people tossed their caps into the sky and celebrated their graduation.
The gathering of these six for the 1944 class reunion evokes an intriguing question about high school: Do we ever leave it?
One study found that getting that higher GPA could actually impact your future salary, giving nerds a bit of a leg up on the cool kids in that regard in the post-high school years. Another recent study suggested that the cool kids don’t stay popular after they’re outside the locker-filled hallways.
Part of that is because those popular kids continue to act in ways that worked for them in high school, which fall short in the eyes of adults in the so-called "real world.” Our past follows us.
“Teens who become popular simply by hanging out with pretty people probably don't work as hard to develop meaningful relationships, according to the study,” Business Insider reported. “That behavior is carried into adulthood, to their detriment.”
It seems those kids aren’t leaving the sheltered walls of high school. And maybe no one ever does. A University of New Hampshire study suggested that the memories gathered from the ages of 15 to 25 usually are more vivid and stay with us for years to come. Since we can remember those years so fondly and vividly, we never leave those halls, writes Jennifer Senior of New York magazine.
Though they are no longer physically in high school, the relationships and bonds formed during those years are exemplified in multiple different avenues every day, Senior wrote.
“To most human beings, the significance of the adolescent years is pretty intuitive,” Senior wrote. “Writers from Shakespeare to Salinger have done their most iconic work about them; and Hollywood, certainly, has long understood the operatic potential of proms, first dates, and the malfeasance of the cafeteria goon squad.”
Memories and rose-tinted glasses aren't the only thing bringing people back to their high school days. Like the six grads of the 1944 class, people still go back for class reunions — thanks, in part, to things like Facebook. Research suggests that 20 to 30 percent of a graduating class go to class reunions.
Maybe it’s to find that bit of nostalgia of the younger years like Bert Stratton suggests.
Or perhaps it’s because of the social bonds that resurface when we gather with those we’ve lost touched with.
Louisa Kamps wrote in a piece for CNN that she originally didn’t see college or high school reunions as all that valuable. But over time, she began to appreciate the relationships that were resurrected there with her former classmates. They were the ones that understood what she was going through.
“These are the people who understand better than anyone how you might have expected life to unfold and what a punch it is, therefore, when expectations and plans inevitably change,” Kamps wrote. “After a reunion, I always return home feeling better, as if deep memory kinks — mistaken impressions, long-held grudges against myself and others — have been worked out, and I'm heading somewhere brighter.”