In most films that take place in a high school, there will be scene where a character goes around and introduces the new student, the audience surrogate, to all of the school’s cliques.
You’ve got the sportos, the motorheads, geeks … freshman, ROTC guys, preps. Whether you’re more familiar with “Heathers,” “10 Things I Hate About You,” or “Easy A,” you know the scene I’m talking about.
“High School Musical” did a whole song about it.
It’s a staple of the genre, but it seems nothing like my high school experience. If I were in a teen movie, would they put me with the theatre nerds or debate team? I did both, but I actually ate most of my lunches with band geeks.
I never knew of a battle between arts kids and jocks. Sure, everybody had their hobbies, but clubs didn’t correlate to cliques. You were just friends with the people you got along with.
And more and more, high schoolers are expected to excel in multiple extracurricular areas if they want to attend a competitive college, but that’s a different tangent.
Lately, I’ve sat in on some meetings that made me feel like I was in the sequel to a teen movie.
Johns Creek is home to several remarkable arts groups: dance schools, theater troops, an orchestra, a visual arts center. A few weeks ago, I saw all these art kids all sitting together, not at lunch, but at a City Council meeting.
For years, these organizations have been hoping for and working toward a community performing arts center. On Jan. 17, the city’s elected officials heard a presentation on a feasibility study for the center.
From my conversations with arts leaders, they had been looking forward to this meeting for months and were anxious to see how the council would respond.
Some of these leaders felt like the arts community had been on the receiving end of the municipal government equivalent of being shoved in their locker by the jocks.
They see the amount of money that goes to arts programs is measly compared to what the city spends on parks and recreation.
Now, Johns Creek has some great parks. They offer fun activities that keep kids and families healthy, both physically and mentally. And when the city hosts tournaments or concerts, the parks can even generate revenue, as people come from out of town, eat at local restaurants and shop at other businesses.
But all of that could also be said of a performing arts center.
While a battle between jocks and arts kids may make for an entertaining movie, I don’t think it’s a solid format for community debate.
While there is a real competition over finite government resources, I hope we remember that most families in the city have kids in both the arts and sports. And even if you fall firmly in one clique and not the other, know that these programs still benefit the community as a whole.