Teachers Reflect on Their Experience at Campolindo Through the Years

Campolindo High School, founded in 1962, has seen many changes throughout the years, both positive and negative. A surprisingly large number of 10 former students have now returned to their high school campus as teachers.

Social Studies teacher Tom Renno, a Campo graduate of 2000, said, “There were major upgrades to the facilities, [the Campolindo Performing Arts Center (CPAC)] didn’t exist, the football field was grass, so when it rained, it was very muddy.”

PE department head Alison Adams, who attended Campo her senior year only from 1979-1980, said the facilities have had many updates. “The SODA Aquatic Center was not there. The tennis courts were not there. The track is much nicer now. The gym has been redone. We have an outdoor basketball court now that wasn’t there. The theater wasn’t there. So it’s a much nicer campus,” said Adams.

“We all ate in the quad. The whole school was smaller,” said English teacher Tom Duffy, a graduate of 1986.

Tom Renno added, “Being a smaller school, you did have more of a sense of community, and I felt like I knew most of the kids at the school.”

Duffy mentioned that technology has been 1 of the major changes he’s seen, especially with how students socialize. “[I see this starting to improve], but the phones have separated and isolated people. You were in a conversation with people because you couldn’t just check out of the conversation and look at your phone, or you wouldn’t feel like you could just go sit in a corner by yourself and look at your phone because there was no phone…There was a bit of a more forced socializing. But that actually was good in ways. It forced face to face,” Duffy said.

A graduate of 1997, social science teacher and leadership advisor Lindsey Webb-Peploe said she feels like students don’t know each other as well as she knew her classmates because of technology’s changes: “[The students] all have online lives that I think take more of [their] time and energy and bandwidth, and we didn’t have any of those options.”

1 positive shift many teachers noted was a more inclusive campus culture.

Webb-Peploe said, “I think people are a lot more accepting. I love that people can feel free to say their pronouns or to come out or to say who they really are. It wasn’t as accepting when I was here.”

Similarly, Duffy said, “We are more inclusive and more accepting. I think in other ways we still have a long way to go. When I was at Campo, nobody was out. And I think that there’s so much more tolerance for LGBTQ and so much more compassion, and just awareness about that [now]. I still think we have a long way to go. But I think that’s 1 of the things where there’s been great progress.”

English department chair Jamie Donohoe, a Campo graduate of 1987, noted, “[Students] are just more world-savvy at a younger age than we were. You’re able to take that next step up to being an adult, which is getting out of your own head – [the mindset it’s all about me] and realizing that there’s an entire world out there and that you have to interact with that world.”

“I do think kids are more respectful of each other than they were when I was in high school. I think they understand real-world issues and problems a little bit better than my group,” agreed social studies teacher Steven Dyer, who graduated in 2007.

Education-wise, Dyer feels that the stress put on students has dramatically increased. “Students are more intensely focused on their grades. I’m not saying that wasn’t the case when I was in high school but just more so now. People are very competitive about grades and academics, more so, I think to an almost unhealthy extent,” he added.

Math department chair Amanda Renno, a graduate of 2000, said part of the reason why she thinks stress has increased for students is the ability to take more classes. “We had to take 3 years of PE, which you know might sound annoying, but at the same time, it made it so you can only take 6 solids, so to speak,” she said.

Math teacher Petro Petreas, a graduate of 1999 feels that students are overdoing it nowadays regarding the number of classes they’re taking and what they are doing outside of school. “[Students are] doing way too much, which is unfortunate [but] everyone else does it [which just] causes more people to do it and so on,” Petreas said.

Visual and Performing Arts teacher Mark Roberts, a graduate of 2003, said education-wise, his experience was very different from what a lot of Campo students experience today: “I took 1 AP before I graduated high school…the academics are a little bit more rigorous [now].”

Tom Renno noted that the education at Campo has really changed: “We didn’t have a psychology program. We didn’t have a social science [program]…we didn’t have art histories. We didn’t have so many of those options that students now expect.”

Similarly, Adams added, “We have so many really nice electives now that [earlier classes] didn’t have.”

Science teacher Stephanie Verbanszky commented about how school spirit is very different now than it was when she attended Campo until 1998. “There [were] a lot more extracurricular activities that were school-based that weren’t sports.”

She added that there was a lot more emphasis on homecoming activities. “We spent the better part of all the weeks leading up to homecoming having what we called Flower Parties where we [went] to people’s homes and made paper flowers. We would spend a whole week building a homecoming float,” Verbanszky said.

Roberts said 1 main dynamic of the school that has changed has been the importance of school sports: “Girls basketball and girls volleyball have always been really strong, but we weren’t winning soccer championships or football championships or basketball championships or anything like that. That dynamic has changed the culture of the school, that athletics [are] such a big part of the school.”

Duffy said a tradition students used to have at Campo was playing their music in the parking lot before school. “That was a big thing, like who had the car stereo that could play the music the loudest.”

While the campus has changed throughout the years, the overall environment of the school has remained a positive place for students to have a high school experience. Adams added, “It was still a great school back then. Still a great school today. It’s a nice place to grow up and to have a high school experience.”