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.
The latest installment of the show featured three girls—Allyson, Kim, and Sarah—with very distinct personalities.
Allyson is the show’s first black girl, who is deeply devoted to her faith saying, “It’s one of those things I’m gonna do for the rest of my life.” Coming from a two parent household with an older sister, Allyson has a stable family unit, which is tested when she becomes pregnant her sophomore year. Allyson, with her mother’s support, decides to get an abortion, which she says is a traumatic experience. Her mother says that while the abortion is against the Bible, she didn’t know what else to do. Allyson recovers well physically and emotionally from the experience and in her senior year dates a guy who has a son (interestingly enough). She says that the last week of March, the time the baby was due to be born, was the hardest for her.
After her pregnancy and abortion, Allyson’s relationship with her father becomes more solidified. Though he admits struggling with his feelings, he says he received much help from his friend at AME Church the family attends. Tragically, Allyson’s father dies suddenly from a heart attack the spring of her senior year, to which Allyson’s mother weeps, “I would like for my happily ever after to be longer, but it wasn’t.” At her mother’s side during the funeral, Allyson also has a close friend die from a brain aneurysm her sophomore year. Strong and beautiful, Allyson announces that she will be just fine.
Kim is a classic overachiever who juggles advanced courses, theater, music, student government, and soccer during her high school years. In almost every scene, Kim has a look of extreme distress of her face as she rushes from class to theater to soccer, and constantly feels like she is letting her parents down when she gets anything but an A. Too busy for her boyfriend, Kim even likes her relationships in the fast lane, saying, “I think it should go from kissing to something further, like sex.”
By her junior year, Kim admits, “I just don’t sleep anymore at night.” Unable to deal with the weight of her jam-packed schedule, Kim decides to drop out of soccer and take the lead in the school play her senior year—a decision she says “was harder than even choosing what college to go to.” After being nominated for Sweetheart Queen and losing the crown to another, Kim finally learns how much her parents and older brother appreciate and treasure her causing her to burst into tears. Yet Kim’s hard work pays off as she earns lots of scholarships and gains self-confidence she seemed to lack when she entered high school.
Perhaps the most amusing girl yet to be featured on the show is Sarah, a quiet girl with a flair for the artistic. Seemingly uninteresting at first glance, Sarah is less than loquacious, yet possesses a certain charm as she speaks her mind, “I don’t want to be a cheerleader; I’d rather die.” After joining band her freshman year, Sarah decides that she doesn’t want to spend 12 hour days marching around at band camp so she tries her hand at art. By her junior year, Sarah’s artistic talent develops dramatically and she is elected vice-president of the National Art Honor Society. While she never finds a boyfriend, she shyly says, “I think I’m a little more confident in who I am,” and then adds, “The only way to not conform is to be yourself.”
While her story seems passé, almost normal, it’s nice to know that awkward, insecure girls still merge into semi-confident young women. Sarah’s parents, like the other parents in this episode, are very supportive of their daughter and encourage her to follow her dreams noting her artistic prowess. While she doesn’t say a lot, when she speaks, Sarah is worth hearing. In closing she says, “My story is the story of a girl who stood by herself and found her voice.”
All photographs courtesy of WE TV.