Forty-six years ago, Clark Hoss, Class of 1967, was a sophomore and a reporter for the Amplifier, during a time when Bobby Kennedy was campaigning for presidency, hall passes were required to leave class and WLHS was equipped with a swimming pool. Students would personally set up the blocks before printing the school paper, making sure all the letters were in the correct spots and double checking the physical stories themselves. Blank spots were to be filled with on-the-spot stories, or fallback advertisements. With a paper being produced about once monthly, proofing was done with the utmost care.
“It’s (the newspaper) more instantaneous. I think one of the criticisms of school newspapers in the past is simply that you were printing old news,” Hoss said when asked about the effect advancing technology has had on journalism.
Time is not the only thing that has changed, according to Hoss. It’s the students who have made the biggest leap.
“If we were going to leave the classroom we had to have a hall pass signed by the teacher. There were no students hanging out in the halls, there were no students hanging out on the couches down in the library area, totally different atmosphere,” Hoss said. “I think schools all over—and it’s a sad commentary—but schools are not only responsible for teaching children but providing discipline as well.”
Hoss continued about the contrasts between West Linn, then and now. The swimming pool where Hoss learned to swim, went from a resource for activity in P.E., to a storage area that was eventually filled in. One thing he believes that has continued is the value of our teachers.
“We’ve always had great teachers here at West Linn. I think that is one of the most exciting things,” Hoss said. “The teachers that I had, they loved their subjects. They made their subjects, their classroom materials interesting, which helped us learn immensely.”
Hoss has taught at West Linn for 36 years. He still enjoys it every day. Lately he has pondered the idea of retirement and possibly opening a bed and breakfast. For now he’ll spend his days teaching history classes.