It runs in the family: same school, new experience

For over 50 years, Saint Paul Academy and Summit School has been shaping students’ lives from an academic and social standpoint for generations. Naturally, some students have family members that have undergone both similar and different aspects of school life.

Senior Heidi Deuel has had multiple family members receive a diploma from the school, including her father in 1984, her aunt in 1976, and her uncle in 1971. Four decades have passed between Deuel and her father’s attendance, which has inevitably led to many notable shifts in the school’s culture.

Major differences have transpired from an athletic standpoint. The value the community built around sports has decreased significantly.

“[My dad] said that…everyone went to every different game and they were a huge deal,” Deuel said. “If you played on a sports team, and were on varsity it was a big deal as well.”

In terms of academics, the school used to distribute less homework. “[My dad] had way less homework than I did but they had a lot more tests and exams,” Deuel said.

[My dad’s class] had uniforms and they could never do dress-ups for sports games and homecoming week.

— Heidi Deuel

School policies have also seen notable change. In some ways, aspects of school life have become less restrictive. “[My dad’s class] had uniforms and they could never do dress-ups for sports games and homecoming week,” she said.

Many more students received harsher punishments: “He knew a lot of people got expelled. So I thought that was interesting because I’ve only known like one person to get expelled.”

On the other hand, students today have much less freedom when they’re not in class.

“The campus was way more open. No one would ever be on campus for lunch. […] People would also do a lot of pranks and stuff and they wouldn’t really get in trouble for it,” Deuel said.

A staple of school culture—homecoming—has changed significantly. Aside from the introduction of dress-up week, many other homecoming traditions have been introduced. In the eighties, the school didn’t host a ping pong tournament or dodgeball; however, Deuel’s father’s class was the first year to do a lip sync battle.

While the school has undergone many changes over the course of a generation, some things haven’t changed. “The small class size at SPA has really given students a chance to get to know their teachers and their peers and get a lot of extra help,” Deuel said.

According to Deuel and her relatives, the sense of community within such a small school has remained persistent.