Photo by Maddie Smiley
It’s game night. Sophomore Trinity Legill walks onto the bleachers and overlooks a sea of white. From face paint to glitter up and down girls arms, the section is spouting school spirit. Cheerleaders are below ruffling their pom-poms and shouting cheers until the clock on the scoreboard reaches zero.
On the same night, Divya Hegde, a sophomore at North, walks onto the bleachers in her own student section at a North football game. The theme is white out as well, and she has come prepared in her white shirt, shoes and pants. But she feels uncomfortable with her outfit choice. Not many people seemed to get the memo and she is one of the few who has dressed for this occasion. All around her are people in all different colors of clothing talking and laughing.
When comparing these two schools on the surface, it seems they couldn’t be more different. According to Legill, at first look you see the “preps” of East who go all out on game day and the “high 24/7” students of North who don’t feel the need to dress up, obvious stereotypes for each school. How different can two schools only 5.7 miles apart be.
East, as claimed by other Shawnee mission schools and even Urban Dictionary, is labeled as the Shawnee school consisting of preppy rich spoiled kids who can sue their way out of any predicament.
When I first talked to Zane Irwin, a sophomore at North, about interviewing him for my article his response was, “Is this article about how many East kids go to school in private jets?”
The fact that students at East students are made money is common stereotype for this so called spoiled school, but also a very misunderstood one according East sophomore, Gia Hense. Hense don’t see her school filled with pampered students, but more full of driven students.
“Everyone has a purpose [at East],” said Hense. “You see people wanting something and they go for it.”
However stereotypes aren’t only at East. Matthew Murphy, a sophomore at North doesn’t agree with the stereotypes surrounding his school either.
“[Other schools] probably think we’re full of drugs and pregnant people. And you have those kids but those kids are at every school, not just North. To say everyone is like that isn’t an accurate description of North,” said Murphy.
Just as Hense said, East isn’t full of preppy rich kids and the majority of North students aren’t all getting high before school as Murphy expressed. Not to say that some stereotypes don’t have some truth to them. They are stereotypes for a reason and had to start somewhere even if since then they’ve been blown out of proportion.
Lisa Breidenbach, a gifted teacher at both East and North, explained that the distinct differences between East and North could do with the contrast in the amount of money surrounding each school.
“People at East have had opportunities,” Breidenbach said. “Maybe it’s to go to a show, maybe it’s to go to a national park overseas. They have had more opportunities than what some of the students, not all, some of the students at North have had. Because they’ve had those opportunities [East students] goals are different then their goals are.”
Breidenbach sees drive in the North students just as she does in the students at East. Just different kinds of drives. These drives may be getting in a play because of North’s great theatre program or maybe it’s participating in traveling strings, a group of orchestra students that walk around playing for people inside and outside of school. Unlike East, North’s general goal for some of it’s students isn’t college.
“Their goal may not be college or that second step in their journey. Everyone has a different goal whereas [at East] it seems like a lot of the goals are very academic. There are some [North students] where their purpose is ‘Hey I want to win that football game’,” said Breidenbach.
In the end, East and North have the biggest thing in common.
“[They] all are still teenagers. [They] all like the same things. [They] still like to visit with your friends. [They] like to sneak a text on a cell phone. [They] still like to go to football games,” said Breidenbach.
A student will walk onto the bleachers in the student section of either of these schools games and see friends snapchatting. They will see students cheering loudly after a touchdown and teenagers supporting their schools. Students just having a good time together, just as Hedge and Legill have seen, because ultimately these two schools aren’t that different. They are both filled with students trying to make it through high school and teenagers just looking to have fun through their high school experience.