Remembering 1997: The Sweetest Year in My Life (Part 3)

And the end of the school finally arrived. We passed all of our final exams, with varying degree of results. But in the end we were happy that our school days are finally over, and we are looking forward for the freedom of college life.

One of the infamous traditions during high school graduation is the ritual of vandalizing our high school uniform with graffiti (normally with the message or signature of our classmates).

A group of graduated students with vandalized uniform, in front of SMA Negeri 2 Surabaya high school.

Although in the last few years prior to our graduation, some high schools taking measure to discourage this by asking their students either to wear batik clothes or personal dress to avoid them making graffiti on their clothes, some schools didn’t (or still don’t) take such measure which resulted in the sight of high school kids having fun of graffitied their former uniform.

A convoy of high school students about to turn to Jalan Pemuda street. The intersection on the left background is now regulated with traffic lights.

And not all came from our school. Other high schools also celebrated the graduation in the same fashion. So the street of Surabaya was packed with high school kids celebrating their graduation by riding motorcycles in convoy around Surabaya, while wearing their vandalized high school uniform. It was all fun, and despite of its wild nature, thankfully it never developed into brawls or riots.

Portion of student convoy at jalan Pemuda street. The motorcyclist in blue shirt on the left is my friend, Andika Anugerah, while the big guy is also my high school mate: Jusuf. The fenced site on the right is now Trillium Apartment. 

A group of students at Jalan Wijaya Kusuma street.

I remember on our graduation day, me and my friend, Steve, would spend our last day in high school traveling around city by riding motorcycles, seeing kids expressing themselves. We didn’t vandalize our uniform but preferred to travel around the city to watch kids wandering around the city in convoy (of varying size).

Me and Steve Hendramurti (left), posing in front of our high school (SMA Negeri 4 Surabaya) name board after circling around the city, to photograph student’s convoys.

By the following day, we returned to our school to collect our certificates and exam results. Again, to avoid vandalism the school asked students to wear non-uniform personal dresses. On this occasion we congratulate each other on our graduation and then accepting certificates from our teacher, as well as bade farewell to them.

A group of my high school mates poses during our very last day in school in June 1997. Sitting from left to right: (unidentified), (unidentified), Dadang Eko, Steve Hendramurti, Teguh Priyono, and Connery Satrya Dharmawan. Squatting left to right: Trihasto Adi Tandono and Wahyudi.

But it didn’t end there . We had the last graduation ceremony which was held in 17th August University Campus (Universitas Tujuh Belas Agustus or known better for its abbreviation: UNTAG). The event would feature live bands as well as some shows which I couldn’t remember now.

Despite of previous restrictions, to avoid vandalism, on this event we were allowed to wear our uniforms! Perhaps, this was the last time we would wear our high school uniform before taking it off for very last time.

On the graduation ceremony in June 1997, all students gathered in the campus’s courtyard. It was all busy, lively, and happy moment. We were overjoyed and excited to meet each other for one last time, knowing that it would probably be the last we would catch up with each other. As soon as the venue was ready , we entered the convention hall. I can’t recall what the activities were when we were in the hall. Whether if we sat there listening to speeches, or maybe some musical performances, I honestly don’t remember.

But some kids (including me!) took the opportunities to put graffiti on our high school uniform as memento from our high school friends. Some naughty female classmate even bravely allowing their male classmates to wrote signature on the private parts her skirt. I even allow many of our friends “vandalizing” my high school uniform. It was all fun! And that was one of the rare naughty acts I’ve ever done during my high school, as I was normally known as “good boy”. I even still keep this particular uniform, complete with the signature of my classmates in it as memento.

Once the event is over, we bid farewell to each other, going home, and heading to our own separate ways.  Although some still be able to catch up with their former high school mates or even joining the same college, for most of us it will be decades before we would be able to catch up again.

Class photo of 3IPS3 class. This was actually taken around January or February 1997. I’m sitting on the floor, center right.

We were the last generation of high school kids to graduate during Soeharto’s economic and political stability era, the last to graduate before Reformation era, and quite possibly the last of the “old school” era.



About bagus70

I'm an adventurous railfans who love to seek out the world of railway, beyond the border of my office.
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