From their first day of kindergarten to their last day in Foggy Bottom, graduating seniors have lived through some unforgettable cultural events.
Here’s a trip down memory lane to help you reminisce about some of the landmark events that happened right before your eyes:
Beginning of Kindergarten – 2000: Pop anthem that stood the test of time
Britney Spears cemented her place as early 2000s pop royalty with the release of “Oops I Did It Again,” the namesake single from her second album. Peaking at number one on Billboard pop songs, as well as on European top charts, the song remains one of the most successful in its genre. Today you still probably crank the song to get the party started at a pregame every once and awhile.
Third grade – 2003: “The governator” takes office
Bodybuilder and action film star Arnold Schwarzenegger became the first foreign-born governor of California in more than 100 years just as the current seniors were polishing their reading and writing skills in third grade. Known primarily for his successful career in Hollywood, he has been referred to as “the governator,” a nod to his role in the “Terminator” series. Since then, Schwarzenegger has remained in the spotlight as host of the reality TV show “The Apprentice,” which is ironic because he previously voiced his staunch opposition to executive producer Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy.
End of elementary school – 2005: New video game makes anyone a rockstar
Current seniors were at the prime age when live-action music game “Guitar Hero” was released in 2005 for PlayStation 2. Featuring a guitar-shaped controller, the game allowed users to play along to covers of songs by world famous acts, including Black Sabbath, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts and The Ramones. You probably remember battling friends and slamming on the whammy bar to earn extra points during late-night, meaning 10 p.m., Guitar Hero sessions at sleepovers.
Beginning of middle school – 2007: The end of a reading frenzy
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” was released in July 2007, marking the end of an era for current seniors who’d stocked their bookshelves with the series since they were 5 years old. Many bookstores marked the occasion by throwing parties before the book was available for purchase at midnight. At 12 years old, you may have been just old enough to convince your parents to let you attend a midnight release for the book that made reading a big part of your childhood.
Beginning of high school – 2009: The king of pop dies
Musician Michael Jackson, “the king of pop” and source of legal controversy, died at 51 years old at his Los Angeles home. A result of acute propofol and benzodiazepine overdose, the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death led to a highly-publicized court case, and ultimately the conviction and incarceration of his personal physician, Conrad Murray. In the year following Jackson’s death, his records made $1 billion worldwide and took over the evening news on multiple channels, which you probably watched after school.
Halfway through high school – 2011: Royals wed across the pond
Roughly 3 billion viewers worldwide turned on their televisions April 29 to watch second-in-line to the throne of the British Empire, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, marry his college sweetheart, a commoner named Catherine Middleton. Hopeless romantics probably remember waking up at 3 a.m. and tuning in to see the couple walk down the aisle, or maybe rolling their eyes at the media frenzy surrounding the bride’s sister Pippa Middleton’s good looks.
High school graduation – 2013: The legendary Spring Fling selfie
Just months before current seniors arrived on campus, GW’s Spring Fling concert in 2013 was perhaps the most memorable to date. A student in the audience threw her cell phone on stage to a virtually unknown rapper at the time, named Macklemore, and he posed for a selfie with the crowd before returning it to the student. The shot ended up on the web, where it landed on the top of the front page on Reddit and earned a number six spot on Mashable’s “16 Legendary Selfies of 2013” list as you were finishing your first semester of college. The photo’s internet fame gave you the perfect bragging material for your first winter break at home.
Halfway to commencement – 2015: Rainbow colors light up the District
As the now-graduating seniors finished up their sophomore year, the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in a 5–4 vote June 27. Thousands of people gathered around the Supreme Court to celebrate after the ruling was called, and even more ran to the White House to see it lit up in rainbow colors after the decision was announced. If you spent the summer after sophomore year in the District, you likely took part in one of these historic celebrations.
Senior year – 2016 and 2017: A whirlwind year for politics
With a presidential election, inauguration and dozens of protests all rolled into one academic year, senior year certainly went out with a bang. On top of the busyness that senior year brings, the graduates got to top off their college careers with inauguration – an event all GW students look forward to during their time at GW. Whether you headed out to the mall for the swearing-in ceremony or painted signs with witty sayings for the Women’s March on Washington, the inauguration was certainly an event for the history books.