The Great Divide: The Effects of High School Cliques

The Great Divide: The Effects of High School Cliques

Allison Woods, Staff Writer

When you think of high school, what do you think of? Do you think of the cheesy high school films that portray “geeks” holding their books  and “jocks” in their lettermans? Do you imagine the different cliques all spread out in the cafeteria at different tables, each member identical and indistinguishable with not a hint of diversity? While real life is not as cliché and dramatic as tropes shown in books and films, there is no denying that there is a certain divide between students. 

In a small school such as Harleton, it’s no secret that everybody knows everybody. Between small town football games and packed-like-sardine hallways, it’d be almost impossible not to familiarize yourself with your fellow peers. With such a tight-knit school, friend groups tend to overlap. For example, people labeled as “preps” can still be grouped together with the “artsy kids” since everyone knows each other so well. However, it is an undeniable fact that almost anyone and everyone can be struck and victimized by the unspoken status quo of high school assumptions where everyone must stay tied down to who they are already predetermined to be based on untrue ideas, stereotypes, and the age-old class  system that has followed us from Ancient Egypt to modern day America. 

However, one must ask themselves:  does it have to be this way? Is high school truly set up beforehand to be a mixture of pharaohs, peasants, and everyone in between? Is it truly sharks and minnows? Lions and gazelles? Or can our views and the way we treat each other just be healed with a bit of understanding? 

Many students at Harleton High School have their own anecdotes and opinions on this great divide. 

“There is a division in school with cliques,” says Freshman Cameron Johnson. “Popular kids don’t associate with unpopular kids. Sometimes kids who seem to have more money don’t hang around kids who maybe do not have as much. I’ll talk to anyone because I get along with most people. I don’t care for people who think they are better than anyone else.” 

“Everyone should be friends,” Johnson continues. “No cool kids, athletes, band kids, smart kids…but just kids. Speak to everyone and be friendly.” 

Senior Kathryn George has a slightly different approach when it comes to cliques. 

“Personally, I don’t really feel there is a division because of the different cliques,” George states. “But I do think that it is unfair to judge someone just because they play football or like to do theatre. It is up to the individual to determine how they feel about other individuals instead of the groups as a whole. I feel like on the outside looking in, my group would be stereotyped as the smart, good kids. While some part of that is true, nobody is perfect, and we shouldn’t be held to those expectations.” 

There are many different viewpoints and angles with which to align your opinions about high school groups and cliques. These different stances can stem from personal experiences or values that apply to specific individuals. It all depends on perception and how one chooses to look at something. 

Other students have expressed that they are more than just cliché high school movie tropes. 

“Because I’m a cheerleader,” states Sophomore McKenna Lockhart, “I feel as though I’d fall into the cheerleader clique. But my personality is much more diverse than in those movies. My group is a mixture of personalities that make the perfect friend group for us. I think that people expect me to be the happy-go-lucky cheerleader 24/7, but that stereotype isn’t me. And I am definitely not the typical “dumb blonde.” 

Many, if not all, of the students at Harleton High School feel misrepresented by presumptions and fabricated beliefs about who they are. 

Whether you believe this class system can be changed or that it’s an age-old fate, sit  next to someone new and actually talk to them. Seeing a person’s true character could break the stigma of cliques and stereotypes. All it could take is one conversation.