I interviewed my dad, Matt, because I knew he had a good story behind looking at stereotypes. It’s too often when you hear about a clique from a woman or a girl’s point of view. I thought it would be more interesting hearing if from a man or boys point of view.
My dad was in the same school system until 9th grade.. In his earlier years…he was in the most “popular” group which was made up of the smart and athletic kids. At the time, he didn’t realize that there were different groups, and that he was in a group… he just that his friends were his friends.
Then his family moved.
He went to a high school where he knew NO ONE. Because he was an outsider, he got a chance to see all of the different groups. He was no longer in the group with smart and athletic kids because he had to work his way up. He realized that there shouldn’t be cliques and that you should be friendly with everyone. He understood what it felt like to not be in a group and how people’s feelings could get hurt. It made him much more aware of other people feelings and that different people have different strengths and you should be open minded to all of them.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: I grew up in Clifton, a diverse middle class town in northern New Jersey. I did not realize it at the time but I was in the popular group driven by the fact that I was both smart and athletic. My family moved when I was going into 9th grade into an upper middle class community. I knew nobody at the school and my transition was made more difficult because I was one of the shortest (4 feet and 11 inches) and lightest (96 pounds) kids in the entire school.
Q: Describe the cliques that existed when you were in high school.
A: smart and athletic, smart, athletic, social, those into drinking and drugs.
Q: How did it feel to be “popular” at your old school?
A: I did not realize the fact that cliques existed because I spent my time with the people I wanted to.
Q: How did it feel to be “unpopular” at your new school?
A: this was a wake-up call for me, and forced me to become more aware and sensitive to other’s feelings. Although I would not wish this experience on anyone, it has contributed to make me who I am today.
Q: What is the most memorable thing you learned during your moving experience related to the cliques?
A: always think about how your behavior impacts others.
Q: What advice would you give us when dealing with cliques?
A: take the high road. Treat everyone the way you want to be treated or the way they want to be treated. Ben Franklin once said that it takes a lifetime to build a reputation but one bad decision to ruin one.