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13News Now Vault: Back to school on the Peninsula circa 1989 and 1996

It’s a tradition that always comes with new adjustments for students and teachers.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Thousands of students are officially back to school as the first day of classes started on the Peninsula Monday.

It’s a tradition that always comes with new adjustments for students and teachers, alike.

In Newport News this year, the district started classes earlier - a week before Labor Day.

If you go back to the 1980s and 1990s, there were bigger changes happening for city schools.

In 1989, it was a brand-new school, Gildersleeve Middle School, causing some first-day confusion. 

The biggest adjustment happened outside the classroom, with many students using combination lockers for the very first time. And because computers were first starting to come around, the library was called the “media center.”

Fast forward to 1996 and another new school would welcome students on the first day in Newport News.

The 250,000-square-foot Heritage High School would eventually become home to the Governor’s STEM Academy for science and technology-forward learning.

But back in 1996, even seven years after Gildersleeve’s new "media center," we were all still getting used to the rapid growth in computer use.

Another change for the 1996 school year, at least at Heritage High School, instead of students switching from classroom to classroom, it was the first year they tried having teachers change at the bell, leaving students in the same classroom all day.

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