Raising Voices About Cliques
"When you get to middle school, something happens. They grow up a little bit, and then their likings change... They begin to figure out who they are... Or who they think they are," Logan says.
It's also a place where ninth grader Caryn Jackson learned about cliques.
"There are cliques that don't really... They won't really accept new people," Jackson says.
They're a fact of life, and those in school can rattle them off...
"There's the jocks," Jackson says.
"Goths, it's like they wear all black and spikes and chains," seventh grader Sydney Given says.
"There's the preppy group... The popular people," seventh grader Brie Rohe says.
"You've always had the nerds," Logan says.
Besides being groups of people easily distinguishable by what they wear or what to they do, membership in a certain clique can also determine who your friends are.
"It would probably feel kinda bad if you weren't in a group cause you'd feel left out and stuff, but if you were in a group you'd feel belonging.. you belong and stuff," Given says.
They're a way to find your niche, but they can also make others feel bad.
"I think the stereotypes that are attached to the cliques are the negatives, I mean there are a lot of negative stereotypes," Logan says.
"Like preppy people, they kinda think that they're kinda better than the nerds," Rohe says.
And the exclusive nature of cliques can wind up affecting more than just friendships.
"We had our class elections yesterday, and I ran for treasury, and of course the popular kid won," Jackson says.
It's a scenario that plays itself out in most every middle school across the country, but the students said they believe things can change, starting with the students themselves.
"I mean, we're all people, I mean, we try to get along even though we're all in our different cliques," Jackson says.
"Just be yourself and don't try to fit in because those are cool people," Given says.
But whether you're a part of a clique, a loner, or you just aren't concerned with social groups, Jackson has some advice for young people.
"Try to meet friends who are like you; don't worry about if they're popular or not, and then just hang on to them and hold on to them as long as you can," Jackson says.
Many middle schoolers say learning who you are and who you'd like to associate with is a long and difficult process, but it can also be rewarding. Logan says make it better for yourself, your friends, and even those who aren't your friends by learning to respect others. One by one, raise your voices to make your community a better place.
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