Generation High School Musical

Millennials, Generation X, iGeneration, there are a million different ways to define the age we live in. But perhaps the most truthful way to establish our generation is through the movie that defined our childhood: we are the High School Musical Generation.

On January 20th, the cinematic masterpiece from 2006 turned twelve-years-old, but to a lot of us, it feels like we were singing the songs in the back seats of our cars just yesterday. Let’s be honest though, we’re still singing the songs while driving our own cars now.

Even though we were only in the beginnings of elementary, we related so much to the characters mature, high school problems: academic decathlons vs. basketball games, trying to balance work and summer fun, the pressure from parents about college. Not to mention that each one of us felt so invested in Troy and Gabriella’s relationship; our first heartbreak was during the ten minutes that Gabriella leaves for Stanford in the third movie. In the words of Bingham junior and HSM lover Emma Eastman, “High School musical is the equivalent of the American Dream to high schoolers.” According to Eastman, the movies provided a sense of empowerment to her. “High school’s hard; sometimes you just have to run through the halls screaming, and I get that. But if you’re positive, you can get through anything.” Because of High School Musical, we learned (to a certain degree) that high school can get tough, but if you just make the most of it, everything will work out fine.

For kids living in Utah, the magic of HSM is only amplified because the movies were filmed on our home turf. The movies feel even closer to our hearts because they were filmed in the heart of our state at East and Murray High School and The Inn at Entrada in St. George. People come from all over the country just to get a look at the whimsicality that is East High, but we live here so it makes the whole prospect of living the life of Gabriella or Troy seem so much more likely.

In all seriousness, even though HSM didn’t really shape who we are as a generation, it was an enormous part of our childhood. We at The Prospector would like to wish a happy twelfth birthday to the movie that defined our childhood and gave us false hopes about high school. In the words of HSM: always remember, “We’re all in this together.”