Young people born into the computer age are now commonly called “digital natives,” but the current grad class may come to be known as the first true Internet natives.
The majority of this year’s grads were born in 1994, the same year as Yahoo, Netscape and something called the World Wide Web.
In 1994 entire home computers held a fraction as much information as a standard CD today and the Commodore computer company that had introduced a generation to home computers, went bankrupt.
It was a time of increasing global culture with the North American Free Trade Agreement coming into effect, the Channel Tunnel opened between England and France and Nelson Mandela was elected as president of South Africa.
It was generally a rough year for humanity with war raging in Yugoslavia, genocide taking place in Rwanda and world media obsessed with every move of a former football star and actor named O.J. Simpson.
Serial killers John Wayne Gacy and Jeffrey Dahmer were killed and Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain killed himself at the peak of the “Grunge music” era while the charts were dominated by dance acts like Ace of Base and Mariah Carey. Other notable partings included Richard Nixon, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and John Candy.
Dakota Fanning and Justin Bieber were born.
It was the era of Tonya Harding and Lorena Bobbitt and Woodstock, er, well Woodstock #2, which turned out to be a poor copy of the original 25 year’s earlier.
Progress in the Middle East peace process led to the awarding of the Nobel Peace prize to Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin. TV tycoon Silvio Berlusconi became Prime Minister of Italy and Texas elected a new governor by the name of George W. Bush.
The Winter Olympics were held in Lillehammer, Norway. Schindler’s List won seven Oscars and boxer George Foreman, who lost to Muhammad Ali 20 years earlier, returned to knock out Michael Moore and become the oldest ever World Heavyweight Champion at age 45.
While this year’s grads could be called Internet natives, their history so far also ties closely with that of the Vancouver Canucks. B.C. hockey fans are well aware of the results.