The news site of St. Francis High School

The SFHS Crier

The news site of St. Francis High School

The SFHS Crier

The news site of St. Francis High School

The SFHS Crier

Breaking the Teenage Norm of Social Groups

And my personal experience.
Breaking the Teenage Norm of Social Groups

My worries for the negative impacts of social groups start at my senior homecoming. It will always come as a surprise if you are unexpectedly announced as a participant on homecoming court – I was taken aback when that happened, to say the least. I refrained from dropping out of the homecoming king running, assuming that would be as far as my short-lived ‘fame’ goes. In a few days, I would be proven very wrong and introduced to a series of events that pushed me to dread the annual homecoming celebrations.

What’s the issue? Unfortunately, it was a very disappointing chain of reactions to have happened within the community. During the homecoming dance, I was announced homecoming king for 2023. While I was shell shocked in the moment, I failed to read the emotions of the other boys on homecoming court. There were mixed reactions across the board–one was beyond excited for me, one was fuming, and the last two weren’t very phased.

I was told the court that was upset by the results left the dance soon after in a fit of rage. This made me feel uncomfortable, and I felt out-of-place to the point where I put my crown and sash in the bag check.

Not long after, I spent the remainder of the evening working shifts at bag check to avoid the conflict the results brought, concluding my time at Saint Francis feeling safe and comfortable within the building.

Story continues below advertisement

The following weekend, my house was vandalized. Twice. First, dozens of eggs were thrown at it during the night (I must admit, whoever had that idea did a pretty bad job!), and following that, rolls of toilet paper were launched into the trees. The culprits got the wrong house with the toilet paper.

Today, I am unbothered by the majority of the high school population, but I will never be able to shake the feeling of intimidation that suffocated me only a few months ago. But why did this happen? What led to the hatred I received by dozens on that night?

It starts in middle school. Everyone is familiar with the social groups that are created and picked out in the first year of middle school. And, as a dedicated fine arts student, I saw (and continue to see) myself participating in all activities within the category to some extent. 

Band? I have been involved since 6th grade, striving to improve on my primary instrument while remaining curious about what I do not know. Choir? I have been involved for two years. On day one, I was asked to join the top ensemble that Saint Francis has to offer; I am also very dedicated to the non-school affiliated varsity show choir that is offered through the same director. Theater? I am a relatively new member, but still participate nonetheless. I played a lead role in my first and second productions.

While always choosing the fine arts over anything else, I do not restrict myself to those three subcategories. I also participate in the National Honor Society (which I was elected the president of for my senior year) and Student Council. 

My social comfortability naturally lies within those who share a passion for the audible arts. Although I will always prefer those groups of students, I will never let it stop me from interacting with others who are more involved in other areas of interest.

Here’s where my issue arises: the natural division between arts and sports encourages a negative school spirit in everyone. 

I should elaborate on what I can share about the other students on court. All four boys were athletic all-stars in their preferred sport. Not one of them has been involved in the fine arts during their time at Saint Francis High School.

At the 2023 homecoming dance, I was ‘unwelcomed’ as homecoming king with closed arms. Mixed opinions rippled through the hundreds of students who stood before me, each pair of eyes locked on me, desperately searching for a suitable reaction to compliment how they felt.

Picture this: you are standing on a ledge with four other unfamiliar boys in front of roughly 400 students your age. You are the shortest, skinniest, weakest, lightest, and most anxious person on that ledge, with the audience reading every slight change in body language. The crowning starts, and after those agonizing moments in front of your peers, YOU are crowned the king of homecoming 2023. How do you feel at that moment? What thoughts cross your mind as you realize nearly all of the school population is boo-ing your crowning and slinging swear words faster than a cowboy from the wild west? 

That last part is a hyperbole, but you get the idea.

The following is not, however: half of the crowd hated my success, without a doubt. Although the cheers of my friends within the fine arts helped to mask the negativity, it still prevailed. Later, I was informed the Student Council was prevented from posting the livestream of the crowning due to the mass negativity from the crowd and those who lost to me.

There is a natural tendency for the fine arts and athletics departments to stay away from one another. Throughout my four years in high school, I have witnessed these two social groups actively avoid one another. While there are students who participate in both, I have also witnessed the mixed emotions of their peers reacting to that information.

Why does this happen? The truth is that I’m not sure. I couldn’t tell you if this is an issue exclusive to Saint Francis High School, or the midwest, or an issue arising everywhere.

However, I firmly believe the norm of this blatant avoidance of social groups needs to be eradicated permanently. This social stigma hinders opportunity for growth in areas often looked down upon, depending on which social group one may be a part of. 

What if a football player was interested in auditioning for the spring musical? Chances are that, in this high school, they would be stereotyped with negatively-perceived values, such as sexual, political, or moral alignments. And what happens in the event that a student that loves to sing decides they want to play soccer? Some students in that department may call that individual a traitor for spreading themselves out more evenly (which has happened to me). 

The social stigma extends far beyond what I have described, but with my excessive involvement in the fine arts along with required interaction in other social groups, I have developed a strong dislike for how both groups of students I have described treat each other.

Imagine a world in which judgement does not exist. Where one could do absolutely anything they please. There would be a blatant reduction in negativity both in ourselves and the relationships we create with our peers and teachers. What would your life look like if no one held you back from your interests?

If we are to be held back by the viewpoints of our peers, will we ever achieve true happiness?

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The SFHS Crier Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *