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.