There’s No Place Like North

LCN's first four-year graduating class of 1978 make their homecoming debut

Gina Hofbauer, Features Editor, Photographer

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It was simpler times in the year of 1978. It was a time when Pink Floyd released the popular album “The Wall”, China instituted the one child per family rule, the popular sports channel ESPN launched, and Sony officially began selling the Walkman at the hefty price of 200 dollars a pop. You could easily find a man in a pantsuit filing his gas tank with 68 cents a gallon of gas or woman with her heavily patted shoulder pads purchasing a VHS (Video Record System) for 55 dollars.

It’s obvious that times have changed extremely since that year. While the world was full of news, something exciting was happening in the small town of Macomb, Michigan. The first class to attend all four years of the newly opened L’Anse Creuse High School-North was graduating.

Students began attending LCN in January, the beginning of second semester. Everyone came from different surrounding schools with different backgrounds and stories to finally blend in one.

’78 grad, Rock Kuchenmeister recalls the many changes made from his old stomping grounds as he toured the school in the beginning of October of this year. The only things claimed to be in the same area at school are the cafeteria, gym, and the offices. Back in the day, the band and choir rooms could be found where the weight training room currently resides. The student parking lot used to be an empty gravel pit that kids would play in. 78’ grads were amazed by both the instillation of the pool as well as the music wing.

The amount of freedom students had way back then seems like a dream to those who now walk these halls. Those who could drive were allowed to leave for lunch, plays and concerts were held in the cafeteria, dirt bikes were often rode to school, and there were designated smoking areas for teachers and students. Kuchenmeister recalls, “After the first half year, the district decided student smoking should be done in back, where the staff parks.  In our senior year, the State of Michigan ‘realized’ that smoking was illegal for persons under 18 and all formal school smoking areas were abolished.  Smoking quickly went indoors into the bathrooms, which began to stink.  A formal ‘student walkout’ was organized by classmates, with roughly 80% of the entire student body skipping out one day.  Plenty of 3-day suspensions were handed out the next day.”

The student rivalry between L’Anse Creuse-North and L’Anse Creuse “Central” has always been present. Back in the day, LCN was built around farmland and the students at Central often referred to North students as “The Farmers”, recalls ’78 grad Melanie Toutant. “In the 70s they tried a ‘free style’ of discipline but they learned from us that students need more straightened rules and started pulling the reins.” That might also affect students at LCN now with the strict backpack rule and hall sweeps (giving students who are not at class on time immediate detention).

Kuchenmeister recalls, “we had some very interesting instructors. It could be said that our teachers were ‘hippies from the sixties’.” He recalls some of his favorite teachers being Ms. Pritchard who taught Geometry and Statistics, Mrs. Hamlin who taught commercial art, Mr.K  the track coach, and Mr. Bunton the lacrosse coach. Toutant recalls her favorites being Mr.Portale, the math teacher, Mr. Moore, the English teacher, and Jim Ohrt, the band director. However, all teachers have helped shaped not only the students, but L’Anse Creuse-North into the school it is today.

Things at school in 1978 were not the way things are today. Your friends weren’t based on your follower count, to ask someone out you would have to actually speak to them, there was no Netflix to watch during class lectures, and there was certainly no Quizlet. Both grads offered their advice for current students, Toutant said, “Make the most of these four years. The footprints staff and fellow students will leave on your path will last for your entire life. Life changes, people go their separate ways, but those values you learn in high school never go away!” Kuchenmeister also advises, “Be careful asking for advice because you never know what you’ll get. Boys: zip up your pants, wear a belt and tuck in your shirt.  Buy a girl flowers, but you don’t have to break down for roses. The problems you have today are just stepping stones of what’s to come.  Fear not.  You got this.” And lastly, “Pi = Time.  Slice yours wisely.”

While LCN has changed exponentially throughout the times, along with the rest of the world, one thing always reminds true: Once a Crusader, always a Crusader.