Teenage Cliché to Revolution on the Highway: The Paradigm Shift of Teenage Culture in 2020

The emergence of monumental changes within our world has influenced the way we perceive teenage culture.


media by Kira Zizzo

(Left Image) Jacob Aragon ‘21 protests against President Trump outside the post office Sept. 18. 2020. After a pro-Trump rally the day before, Aragon and Amanda Brauchler ‘21 were inspired to launch a counter-protest. “Throughout this entire year, there’s been a lot of people giving out their voice when it comes to issues they’re passionate about and the other day we saw people who support our current president, so we got their voice, so we wanted to gather some people and speak in opposition to that and exercise our rights,” Aragon said. “We’re speaking out spreading love, we’re speaking about voting, settling for Biden, all about love and respect for people and their races and all of that.” (Right Image) Golden Boy, Dani Haddad ’20 prepares in anticipation to catch the senior megaphone at Echo Park during the Homecoming Football game Sept. 19. 2019. He led chants throughout the bleachers to cheer on the football team. “It was crazy, everyone was screaming and the school spirit was amazing! I was so excited to be at the game and show support for our team,” Nikhila Naryana ‘22 said. The stark changes one year can have on student voices are conveyed in this piece through the juxtaposition of a photo from last October’s football game with an image from this October’s student-led anti-Trump protest. This piece was created to drawing focus to the students themselves, with a color behind them representative of the crowd’s tone. 2019’s blue is a soft hue of stability and health, while 2020’s red is a pigment of passion and drive, reinforcing the concept of growth and maturity in our teenage motives.

by Kira Zizzo, Editor in Chief


High school, a time heavily romanticized by Hollywood, illuminates a cookie-cutter image of the “high school experience”: prom, sporting events, homecoming, pep rallies, and more. The COVID-19 pandemic shattered this ideal that is so deeply ingrained into the public conscience of what it means to be a high schooler. These timeless traditions were canceled and comprehensive changes were implemented in our lives. As we grappled with the loss of our “high schooler” identity, we collectively cultivated maturity and growth. Our definition of youth flatlined, but we resuscitated ourselves, rising from the ashes of ignorance and juvenescence, instilled with strength, passion, and fire within us. Due to the absence of our “normal” high school experience, we became more socially conscious of the injustices, political failures, and flaws in our society. In response, we became emboldened with a drive to advocate for racial, political, and other societal changes. Parallels began to emerge, as the loss of high school traditions aligned with our endeavors for change. Our fancy footwork relocated from the dance floor to the streets, as we marched for change. Our vehement vocals vacated football stands and found their place in protests, as we verbalized our demands for justice. Our hands no longer undulated in the air synchronously to our cheers at pep rallies, but now they formed tenacious, unwavering fists, raised in the air in solidarity with our dissent to the crumbling state of democracy in modern America. The advancements to teenage culture in response to inevitable COVID-19 changes are a testament to our potential to utilize opportunities to amplify our voices for revolutionary change.


(Left Image) Jordan Norwood ’23 and a group of Valor students cheers at the intersection of University and Colorado, to protest CHSAA’s decision to keep football in the spring of 2021 Sept. 11 2020. Let CO Play organized three protests throughout the state. All starting at 3:30, the protests occurred in Highlands Ranch, Colorado Springs and Delta. (Right Image) Manpom, Sage Wheeler ’20 strikes a pose during the manpoms halftime performance at Echo Park Sept. 19 2019. They opened their performance to the song “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen. (photo by Kira Zizzo)


(Left Image) At the anti-Trump protest outside the post office, Isabella Broome ‘21 advocates for LGBTQ+ rights Sept. 18 2020. Anti-Trump protestors were met with equal parts agreement and opposition from passing cars. “I believe in equal rights and I want to spread love and positivity because I feel like yesterday there was so much hate on this corner and at this intersection that I wanted to counterbalance that with love,” Broome said. (Right Image) Kade Ramsey ’20 and Sean Hicks ’20 burst through the homecoming banner and sprint on to the field at Echo Park for the Homecoming Game Sept 19 2020. This game against Arapahoe High School ended with a score of 24-12. “We’re losing the game so far, but our school spirit is strong,” Shwetha Suresh ‘22 said. (photo by Kira Zizzo)


(Left Image) Tanner Leonard ‘21 protests in favor of LGBTQ+ rights at the anti-Trump protest at the intersection between University and Quebec Sept. 18 2020. This group of protestors held another protest at the Highlands Ranch Parkway and Broadway intersection Sept. 25. “It’s important to get active politically when you’re younger because it shows people not only what the future will look like with what political views people will line themselves up with, but it’s also important to show that this is what the future is going to be, that the future generation thinks this is right and it’s the direction we’re going to go in,” Alisha Pravasi ‘21 said. (Right Image) Jack Boyer ‘20 cheers in the gym during the Wish Week opening assembly when 10 year-old Fabian is introduced as the 2019 Wish Kid Feb. 21 2019. This was the school’s eleventh year of Wish Week. (photo by Kira Zizzo)