The Generation Gap


Alicia Naranjo-Champion, News Editor

Everyone at Arroyo is a high school student or has been one, so how does our high school experience differ from our teachers’ high school years? How significant are the differences and the gap between generations X, Y, and Z?

Though there are no exact dates that separate each generation, demographers estimate that Generation X (or Gen X) is comprised of people born between 1960 and 1980, Gen Y (also known as Millenials) are born between 1981 to 1996, and Gen Z from 1997 to early 2000’s. This puts the students at Arroyo in Gen Z and most of the teachers in Gen X.

The most significant gap lies in technology. Generation Z relies heavily on the internet. Whether it’s to use it as a resource for school or just for personal pleasure, today’s teens spend on average 9 hours a day on media such as online videos, social media, or music, according to the Washington Post.

Today’s students have a clear advantage over Generation X’s students. They get answers to questions in a matter of seconds and don’t have to go to the library whenever they need help. Mrs. Camacho, Gen X,  said she “was there at least 3 days a week… we had no internet.”

Because Gen Z grew up with these tools and Gen X had to learn and adapt, today’s high school students are more tech savvy. Muskaan Sandhu, Gen Z, explained that Generation X doesn’t “really know how to work things. Not as much as kids,” referring to technology.

If Generation X didn’t have any of these gadgets, how did they spend their free time? Mrs. Camacho said she and her friends liked to go to Santa Anita Mall. Some of the most popular stores to shop at in 1994 included Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters, and Old Navy.

Slang also contributes to the generation gap. Sayings like “low key,” “savage,” “bruh,” “stop flexin,” and “lit,” might confuse Generation X. Where as slang such as “keep it fresh” or “you’re not down!” might sound weird to Generation Z high schoolers.

Fashion is another aspect of life that has evolved along with the generations. In the 80’s the Reebok High tops, Converse Chuck Taylors, and Nike Air Max were the most popular. Camacho said, “everyone had those.”

Today, according to, teens spend more money on Nike, Vans, and Adidas than any other shoe brands.  Though the top spots have changed, Nike has withstood the test of time.

As far as apparel goes, the Adidas track pants, ripped jeans, crop tops, and Supreme are the most popular choices today. In fact, some 80’s and 90’s styles are making a comeback. For example, tube tops although currently, fashionable made their first appearance in the 90’s. Another comeback would be the “Dad Sneakers”. The bulky tourist sneakers from the 80’s and 90’s are 2018 trending.

Although generations differ in various ways, they help shape the way the next ones look like. A lot of the fashion and lingo today wouldn’t be in place without the structure from the 80’s and 90’s.

Here are a few of the high school favorites from 1994 and 2018:


Courtesy of Mrs. Camacho, originally published in the 1994 Maranatha High School yearbook.

2018 Poll Results from the Knight’s Banner Instagram account @knightsbanner