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.
After losing her mother to stomach cancer when she was in fifth grade, Cate is still dealing with the loss of her mother as she entered high school. Further complicating life for Cate was her inability to get along with her twin sister, Kelsey, and her father’s marriage to Tammy only three months after his wife’s death. Bringing two daughters with her into the marriage and taking over the household, Tammy becomes the icon of the evil stepmother, at least to Cate.
One of Cate’s stepsisters, Beth, is the same age as Cate and they attend school together. As things begin to get tense at home, the girls pull apart. Beth eventually moves in with her father and ignores Cate at school. Feeling “unaccepted and judged” by her stepmother, alienated from her friends, and then breaking up with her boyfriend, Cate’s life spirals downward. Starving herself and cutting her wrists, Cate is later diagnosed with depression and trauma, which manifests in her destructive behaviors. After her stepmother reads her personal journal, her parents decide to intervene to “save Cate’s life”. Thinking that Cate may get upset, her father calls the cops to escort Cate to the doctor, where she is hooked up with an eating disorder specialist and a therapist (according to Cate, the episode misrepresented this. She was seeing an eating disorder specialist and therapist already). She begins to work through the pain of her mother’s death and her father’s sudden remarriage.
Cate buys herself a motorcycle and takes riding lessons (not shown on episode). Naturally, her stepmother doesn’t approve and eventually separates from Cate’s father. Finding she has an eye for photography, Cate is passionate about taking pictures and starts her own photography business, Cate Photography. She attends University of Kansas for French. See Cate’s comments below!
Beth, Cate’s stepsister, has appeared on two other episodes of “High School: Confidential”. She is one-third of “the Tripod” the week that Crystle was featured and she is also a bridesmaid in Sara’s wedding.
In this episode, Beth appears mean and moody, while in prior episodes she was reasonable and mature. One scene shows Beth and the other two members of the Tripod, Crystle and Gina, gossiping about Cate. She feels that her mom married Cate’s dad because she felt bad for him and his family. Beth moves out of the house and moves in with her father. After Beth’s mom separates from her husband, Beth lives with her mom once again. Beth and Cate meet to sort things out, and then go their separate ways. Beth says that her story “is a story of a girl who wandered into high school lost and found how who she was.”
Then there’s the highly ambitious Lauren, who has a stable family. Her parents are happily married with four children. Lauren is a big sister to three younger brothers. The family even owns a golden retriever—the all-American dog. Involved with her family and school activities, Lauren doesn’t have time for a boyfriend. By her sophomore year, she is president of the orchestra and vice-president of the debate team. Then she dives into the world of politics lamenting, “It’s hard to be a liberal in Kansas.” After applying to a whopping seven schools, she isn’t accepted by her first choice, Georgetown, and ends up attending University of Pennsylvania. She defines herself as “a girl who wants to change the world.”
All photographs courtesy of WE TV.