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We Were There, But Where Were You: A Reflection of Iconic Childhood Moments

St. Petersburg High School students share some of the unforgettable times when they “just had to be there.”
Some childhood classics outdate the modern streaming networks.
Karina Paskaleva
Some childhood classics outdate the modern streaming networks.

Have you ever come across a video online titled something along the lines of “Pop Culture Moments that I’ll Never Forget?” If we are being honest, then we have probably all scrolled by at least one of them, or had a friend show us one. So maybe some better questions would be: What are they? What makes them so iconic? How do their impacts vary for each graduating class? Most of all though, what pop culture moments have built the students of St. Petersburg High School?

Starting with the senior class, Dauel Holmes offers, “Vine, Musically, Snapchat, and Instagram were the most popular apps I remember…Vine because it was [compiled of] short skits which were meant to be funny and relatable…these short videos weren’t seen before.” This may be different for the freshman class as they likely only know Vine from seeing compilations of them in YouTube videos, as Vine reached them a few years too late (freshman being only eight or nine years old at the time, after it shut down in 2017). On the topic on YouTube, this social media platform was popular for each student class throughout their childhood, and continues to be, even now. Thinking back to when she was a kid, a junior at SPHS, Anna Nguyen, mentions that she used to watch channels like “LaurDIY [and] Bratayley,” among many other YouTubers whose careers were also taking off around this time such as: Pewdiepie, Shane Dawson, Mr. Beast, Jenna Marbles, Vlog Squad, the Paul brothers, Team10, and more.

Getting a notification from Snapchat saying that a “One Year Ago Today” memory is available to view can be super nostalgic, in a good way, or in a cringey way. It makes us think about what was going on in our lives back then. Anna Nguyen says that in childhood memory flashbacks from Snapchat, it was common for “chokers, hydro flask[s], tie dye, Justice flipping sequin shirts, [or] scrunchies” to make an appearance since they were in style back then; along with bright colored clothes, big brand name logos, and of course, the renowned checkered Vans. We all remember seeing the online videos of kids making fun of VSCO girls, only to ask their parents to buy them birkenstocks and a hydro flask a week later because of how popular they were becoming. It was all the rage; but now we look in our kitchen cabinets and in the back of our closets only to find those same dented hydro flasks and sandy, sun-stained birkenstocks just taking up space.

Then again, mocking the VSCO girls with their metal straws and turtle stickers was just a part of an era when everyone just had to be there. Looking back, SPHS students have an arsenal of  “We Just Had to be There” moments! Anything from a Super Bowl halftime show to One Direction breaking up was considered a monumental event to us as kids. Among other things such as not being able to stop talking about it when a new Marvel movie was released, or even laughing about how orange Sebastian Bails’s spray tan was. Making silly Musically transitions, overly filtering Instagram posts, T-posing with a friend group in the middle of Walmart, and posting things that now would be deemed as cringe — like a friend jumping off a tree and yelling something silly like “YOLO” — used to be cool when we were younger…which is why everyone who just had to be there, was doing it at the time. Seeing these memories in our camera rolls makes us think about why we would ever be provoked to do stuff like that… seriously, had we no shame? But, more so, they allow us to reminisce on how much simpler life was as children when we were not as immersed in social media, aside from having a little down time for it every now and then. Social media today however, is an entirely different story.

Seeing how social media has affected the Millenials and Gen Z so far, SPHS students make predictions regarding the possible effects that social media will have on the next generations. Dauel Holmes states, “overall the effect[s] social media [and] pop culture [are] having on my generation is really large whether people think it’s good or not…social media can be positive, like educating teenagers on things like politics and socio-economics, [however,] apps like TikTok can lower attention span…but ha[ve] allowed for more outreach for individuals of this generation.” On the other hand, SPHS freshman Hope Kennedy, thinks that “social media is almost shortening the childhood experience because every little kid is trying to be like the older people they see online.” Nonetheless, social media has held a huge impact on pop culture within the younger generations and will likely continue to as long as we subscribe to it.

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About the Contributors
Maysie Rollins, Staff Writer
Karina Paskaleva, Photographer

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