Reflecting on sixth-grade hopes and dreams

A few weeks ago, a long-lost elementary school classmate scanned our entire sixth-grade yearbook from May 1981 and posted the contents on Facebook. In addition to the usual goofy photos, we all contributed brief notes for our “20th reunion,” describing our lives as we imagined they would be in 2001.

The reunion notes were good for a lot of laughs. Then, like the geek I always have been, I decided to take a closer look at how my sixth-grade classmates envisioned our futures. What I found is after the jump.

A note on demographics: this sample of 76 children is in no way representative of American eleven- and twelve-year-olds in 1981. The three classrooms of sixth-graders at my school included 73 Caucasians, 2 Asians and one African-American. We lived in middle-class or upper middle-class neighborhoods in the Des Moines suburbs. Almost everyone was Christian; mostly Protestant, I think, with more mainline Protestants than evangelicals. There were also quite a few Catholics and four Jews.

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