By Olivia Terry
Pictured in this image from the Wood River Journal Photo Collection, is a group of well-dressed young people holding what appears to be diplomas, circa 1900. One could infer that these teenagers might be commemorating their high school graduation with a class photo.
The historical insight of the picture is underscored by the fabulous clothing worn by the group. At first glance, the class appears to be wearing clothing typical of the era, but upon a closer look, the teenagers are dressed far more eclectically than expected.
Some of the boys hold swords, almost all of the teens wear different sagging caps, and one young man in the back wears an extravagant feathered hat. The wide variety of accessories adds an air of mystery to the context surrounding the class photo. Could they be a theater club? A society? Or simply a group of students with a diverse sense of style?
An article from the 1900 May issue of the Wood River Times makes the statement that “in nearly every state the lack of uniformity in the high schools is a cause of annoyance…”
The point to be made is that individuality–whether it’s displayed through clothing, clubs, courses, or hobbies–is a thing to be embraced in all stages of life. Now, over a hundred years later, the Wood River Valley continues to celebrate its most recent high school graduates at the start of each summer. Like many before them, this year’s graduates will choose to stay or leave the valley and begin their own adult lives, shaping the world around them.