High School: Confidential, Courtney

17 Mar

By Amy Sondova It’s all the drama, but none of the personal turmoil–it’s high school relived from freshman to senior year through the lives of 12 girls from Northwest High School in Overland Park, KS. It’s called “High School: Confidential” and the show is a new 8-part documentary airing Monday nights at 10 PM on the WE Network. The girls were filmed from 2002-2006.

Tonight’s episode featured Courtney, an athletic girl who learns about “temptation and consequence.” The oldest of four children, Courtney feels responsible to be an example because she’s the oldest saying, “I have to be especially good.” As she begins her freshman year, Courtney plays for the junior varsity soccer team and joins the cheer leading squad admitting, “I’m not like a lot of the other girls on the squad.”

Despite her differences, by sophomore year, Courtney is doing just fine even though she is an anxious thinker stating, “I have a hard time letting things go that I’ve done wrong.” While her mom denies enforcing Courtney’s perfectionistic tendencies, it is pretty obvious that mom is the domineering figure in the family. Talking to the camera about teen sex issues, Courtney’s mom continually explains her daughter’s position on oral sex, while Courtney looks down and away.

Further evidence of mom’s domineering nature comes when Courtney’s little sister, Justine, is found to be pregnant. Only 15, Justine first confides in Courtney and then both girls tell their father. Only after taking Justine to the doctor to confirm her pregnancy is mom informed about the issue. Mom, naturally, flips out exclaiming, “I was pissed!” She elaborates, “I’m sure I said a few choice words I couldn’t talk to her at first…Courtney was trying to calm me down at first.” As the story goes on, Courtney and Justine’s mom seems less than supportive of Justine through her pregnancy. In fact, it seems that Courtney is a pillar of support for her little sister, while mom is strangely absent.

Mom makes other contradictory statements regarding Justine’s pregnancy. She proclaims that she doesn’t care if people say, “There’s the mom of the pregnant girl,” but worries that when her son goes to high school other students will react by saying, “That’s the brother of the pregnant girl.” It almost seems as if mom is projecting her shame onto other members of the family. Justine’s parents decide for her that the baby in her womb will be given up for adoption. Mom also has an opinion on this, “I knew were going to have to give the baby away. It was hurtful that she put me in this position.” Right, mom, Justine got pregnant just to hurt you and put you in that position.

Meanwhile, Justine tearfully discusses the pain of allowing others to raise her child and how she is treated at school. “Every high school girl is judgmental,” she says, adding how it’s hard to be the girl the others whisper about. Justine gives birth to a healthy baby girl thanking her sister, “Courtney was really there for me.” Both sisters cry and exchange hugs after talking about the baby. In a solo shot, Courtney talks about how she admires her sister for being so strong in having the baby and giving her away.

High school wasn’t always rosy for Courtney, who hit a rough spot her junior year when she was found drinking vodka on school grounds. She was suspended from school for three days, which were the first three days of soccer try-outs. Only having one day to show her stuff, Courtney was greatly disappointed by being placed on the junior varsity team, meaning she may not get a soccer scholarship to college. She does make the varsity team her senior year, but her future in soccer and college was unclear–Justine’s pregnancy overshadowed the last part of the show.

At the end of her four years, Courtney shares what she learned, “Being your own person is the most important thing you can do in high school.” Or maybe it’s helping your sister through the roughest time in her young life, especially when your mother won’t.

All photographs courtesy of WE TV.

Print copy of review.

Catch up with the other girls–Lauren G. & Cappie; Jessi; Allyson, Kim, & Sarah; Crystle, Sara N. & Caitlin, and Cate, Beth, & Lauren B.

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No Responses to “High School: Confidential, Courtney”

  1. oceans64 March 18, 2008 at 2:27 PM #

    I couldn’t agree more about the Mom. I think she read a book from the 1950’s about how to support your teenager through an unplanned pregnancy. Other than sending her to a maternity home, she got it right.

    I hope Justine is doing well today.

  2. Scott March 27, 2008 at 4:58 PM #

    Amy,
    I thought writers were supposed to be objective. You should be ashamed for calling Justine’s mother non-supportive.

    I know Justine, her mother and the rest of her family very well – my wife and I adopted Justine’s baby.

    How can you even begin to make negative comments about a person / family you don’t even know? All you saw in that episode was what was edited for tv. You have absolutely no idea what Justine, her mother, and the rest of her family went through in making the decision they did.

    I want to set things right and let you and anyone else that reads this post know that Justine’s mother, Justine, and the rest of their family are some of the most wonderful people you could ever hope to meet / befriend. Saying anything different is completely inaccurate.

    If in the future if you decide to write something about Justine, her mother, or her family, try to stop and think first. Your inaccurate comments have caused hurt to that family – something a family as wonderful as they are do not deserve.

    Adoptive Parent of Justine’s Baby!

    PS) oceans64 – Justine is doing well.

  3. atypicalgirl March 27, 2008 at 5:23 PM #

    Let me start out by saying–writers are never objective. We always interpret things through our lens of experience, thinking, and emotions. Plus, this is more of a column than an objective piece of journalism like some of my other writings. Therefore, I am analyzing, interpreting, and digesting the data just like the rest of the folks watching “High School: Confidential”.

    Of course, I can only judge by what is shown on the T.V. show, but that is exactly what I’m analyzing. I’m not doing interviews with the family, friends, or producers. I am simply commenting on a medium through another medium, which is perfectly acceptable in our society. It’s a review analysis of the show…not a social commentary on the reality of the people. I am using the evidence presented to make an opinion.

    Perhaps Justine’s mother was supportive. I am simply using the evidence and the statements set before me to draw conclusions, which show that mom has a lot of issues going on. If you have issues with the way the family was presented, you should take it up with the show’s producer.

    I never intended to cause hurt to the family (even though I have serious doubts that they even read this post or know about it), and have held both Courtney and Justine in high regard. However, showing one’s life on national television does cause people to make assumptions on what is aired–they had to be prepared for some commentary by others.

    And if you are indeed the adoptive parent of Justine’s baby, congrats. People who make the choice to adopt are amazing. Plus, if Justine is doing well, that is all the better.

    Thanks for your comments.

  4. Scott March 27, 2008 at 11:01 PM #

    Yes, I am indeed the adoptive parent of Justine’s baby and yes, she and the baby are doing well. As is Justine’s mother and the rest of her family – even with all the insensitive / inaccurate comments being made about them online.

    Your statement “I can only judge” was an interesting choice of words. It makes me wonder why you feel it so necessary to be the judge of others. No need to answer this…. I’m pretty sure I know what you’d say.

    As for your “serious doubts that they even read this post” – unfortunately it was brought to their attention. Your comments and comments made on many other blogs, forums, etc have hurt a very wonderful family.

    I would think that a real “journalist” would want to be as accurate as possible regardless if it is a column or an “objective piece of journalism.” And if that journalist was incorrect in his/her comments, I would hope he/she would do the right thing and apologize to the people they hurt.

    I appreciate the congrats.

    Adoptive Parent of Justine’s Baby!

  5. atypicalgirl March 27, 2008 at 11:44 PM #

    I’ve allowed your comments because they present another side to the story. I don’t mind differing opinions. If you would like to submit an essay on your experience with Justine and family or if they would like to present their side of the story, I would be more than happy to publish it. Thanks.

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