It’s no secret that movies and TV shows portray high school-life inaccurately. Our school doesn’t look the same way that Hollywood makes it out to be, with student actors who look 30 years old always ready to break out into song and dance.
Even with stark differences between reality and fiction, it’s worth it to look into just how different our school is from popular representations of high school that are admittedly more interesting.
The most obvious difference comes in school spirit. At East High School in High School Musical, spirited students fill the hallways repping varsity letter jackets and enthusiastically putting up posters for student-organized prom. They even get onto the cafeteria tables to break into expertly choreographed dance routines.
Such artistic expression isn’t expected from every student here, but our school’s lack of spirit means that more than a quarter of the school actually participating in a spirit day is inconceivable. “At Wootton there isn’t that much spirit,” sophomore Ryan White said. “In a lot of movies, basically every student goes to big events like the school play or basketball game, but not as many people do that here. Not that many people do anything for spirit week and everyone is trying to leave the pep rallies.”
Our school does not organize its students into distinct cliques like in movies. While it’s common to see a jock pushing a nerd into a locker in a work of fiction, such blatant incidents of bullying thankfully do not occur regularly at our school. In Mean Girls, every student belongs to a single clique, and overlap between groups is looked down on. Meanwhile at Wootton, there is no strict organization of the student body near the level that many movies portray high schools having. “People aren’t really that mean [as in Mean Girls],” sophomore Kelly Baldwin said. “If that movie was like Wootton it would be boring though.”
With so many inaccuracies plaguing media about high school, it’s easy to overlook some aspects of our school that are being represented well. Many movies portray the undeniable drama that goes on in high school accurately, even if the scripts push this drama to excess. “Riverdale is almost similar to Wootton if you ignore the weird supernatural stuff, but I think it shows that there’s a lot of drama in high school,” junior Gabi Giro said. “It’s overly dramatic but that’s what makes it entertaining.”
In high school movies, students aimlessly wander the hallways talking with their friends, heading to their lockers to get books that they could have had in their backpacks in the first place. While at our school there are only five minutes available between classes, it seems as though movie-students have unlimited time at their disposal. Students in movies are also extremely willing to skip class if they want to, something that could not be done so casually at our school. “I could never skip class because the school would know and I might miss something important,” Baldwin said.
Fictional movies give students false hope as to what high school life will be like, and younger adolescents are not being properly prepared for their teenage years. “I watched a lot of those movies and shows in middle school about high school life, and reality does not compare,” Kyra Goldstein said.