schoolpicturesBack to school was always an exciting time of year for me. I loved picking out new pencils and notebooks and getting new school shoes. Going back to see all of my friends and meeting my new teacher was so much fun. I always looked forward to starting a fresh new school year, which also meant a new school picture.

School pictures are important to many kids: it will be seen by everyone in the yearbook, you can give them to your friends, and of course, your parents will hand them out to family members. With that many people seeing the picture, it had better look good! I always had opinions on how I wanted my school picture to look, but my mom usually had another idea.

Every fall when the picture order form was sent home, I begged my mom to let me have the pretty purple background. But every year the answer was the same: “You are having the gray background because it matches everything and I want all of your pictures to look nice when we hang them together when you graduate.” To me, graduation was so far away and I really did not care how all of the pictures would look hanging together in 10 years. My friends had purple and I wanted purple.

Of course, hair and clothes were always another important issue. In 2nd grade, I had to get my pictures retaken because mom did not like the way I had tucked my hair behind my ears. In 4th grade, I insisted that I had to wear a dress for picture day. No matter how much my mom explained that you could not even tell if it is a dress in a shoulders-and-up, I still had to wear a dress. That is how I ended up wearing the same exact thing in my 3rd and 4th grade photos. I guess I did not have many dresses. Of course, the photos also document the awkward years like 8th grade with braces, trying-to-grow-my-bangs-out, and a bleeding chin from tripping while running to the school bus that morning.

As I got older, I stopped caring about the purple/gray background issue and I figured out how to dress myself and style my hair more appropriately. Looking at all of the photos together now brings back so many memories of the education that I was fortunate enough to have. Now, as I pursue my Master’s degree there is no school picture day, but I am just as excited for back to school!

-Hillary Hanel
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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