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Pick Your Clique

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My daughter is entering her freshman year of high school, so I told her to choose her electives wisely.


Beth Falkenstein: In high school I was part of the crowd that did all the school plays. We wore Danskin leotards with our jeans and spent lunch periods improvising deeply esoteric skits in the commons. We called ourselves "theatre geeks." The rest of the school called us "those weirdos."

I don't remember caring what the other kids thought of us. But I'll bet I did.

Now, as my oldest daughter prepares for her freshman year, I find myself in one of those older-but-wiser positions. I know that her selection of electives will brand her forever, and she has to choose wisely. She could benefit from my guidance.

Should she try out for the cheer squad? The cheerleaders are the pretty, popular girls.

But they often have a mean streak, get by on their looks, and love to mock the theatre geeks. Not that I care about that.

Should she pursue her talent in math and take an honors-level class? In fifteen years, those kids turn out to be the captains of industry. But she won't have a date until then.

She could join a sport. That's a choice with big physical and financial dividends (stamina and scholarships). But this is a girl who nearly tore her finger off playing leapfrog. Sidelined with an injury would be a more likely future.

Band? Five words: "One time, in Band Camp ..."

Or maybe journalism. She could be one of the faceless numbers that report on the cheerleaders, the mathletes, and the jocks ... that is, until she decides what she really wants to do.

I guess I'm just older, not wiser, because I haven't a clue which direction to suggest for her. As we peruse the course catalogue, I point out the theatre classes. She rolls her eyes and says "Those weirdos"?

Cheer squad it is.

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3 comments so far | Post a comment now
Renee June 1, 2009, 8:46 AM

I think it’s important not to perpetuate the stereotypes and to be willing to try more than one thing. Why would you want to be pigeonholed into a “clique”?! I was a the captain of the cheerleading squad as well as the president of the choir, an honors student, and did musicals. It was nice to be a part of many different groups and get to know all kinds of people. Isn’t it more important to develop many areas of one’s personality and interest instead of “choosing a path”? I mean she’s a freshman in high school!! It’s time to start exploring who she is instead of defining it.

Kirstie June 1, 2009, 12:24 PM

I’m still only a recent graduate (I’ll be a college junior in the fall), so my high school days are still pretty clear.

Maybe it was because of the sheer numbers in my high school (my graduating class was 800 kids!!), but there were really no ‘cliques’ in high school like you see in the movies. I was a cheerleader for 11 years, and at the same time I did theatre from the age of 8 and was even president of my HS’s theatre honor society. I also did really well in school and graduated near the top of my class. I was friends with people all across activity groups.

Maybe it’s different in a much smaller school, but really? Do what you like to do, regardless of social standing.

Renee June 1, 2009, 4:19 PM

Kirstie, I only graduated with 148 people and we were the biggest graduating class in years. (I’m the same that posted above you)

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