Graded vs High School Clichés



Starting at a young age, children always wonder what it’ll be like to be older. Whether that means imagining their life as a parent by taking care of dolls or even using a little stethoscope imitate a doctor, kids always manage to build up expectations about what their future will be. As students, this means imagining a life in high school–an experience like the one shown in movies and TV shows. But, how realistic can those expectations be? The clichés of a John Hughes film and the cliques from Mean Girls can’t all be true, especially at a school like Graded. That being said, how does it compare to the classic high school experiences seen on screen?
Since the definition for a “classic high school experience” is pretty vague, it seems easier to put Graded up against some of the most common tropes shown in the high school genre.

This disciplinary measure was only recently brought back to the Upper School for good last year. Although Graded’s detention is used as a punishment for “behavioral infractions,” the after-school detention is more notoriously known to be filled with students who have piled up a significant amount of tardies. Something interesting about Graded, however, is that it also has SAS as a way to keep students up on their assignments, pretty much another form of detention, albeit more constructive than what we see in a movie like The Breakfast Club.

Even though they are, of course, different groups of friends spread across the Upper School, they aren’t as closed in as they seem in the movies. While students do have their close friends, the school isn’t as exclusively separated into these cliques when compared to a movie like Clueless or Mean Girls. As an international school, Graded is accustomed to having a wider variety of students compared to an American high school that might be depicted on screen, so it would make sense for there to be fewer cliques. The diversity of friend groups isn’t simply based on interests but also on the nationalities, cultures, and languages.

This is, obviously, not allowed at Graded (or pretty much any school as a matter of fact), but it’s such a staple of the high school cliché. Whether it’d be from the first scenes of a Spider-man film or the group of jocks in a Disney movie, it has to be acknowledged at least once. Although violent bullying is rarely seen on campus, the internet creates a whole new outlet for cyberbullying to take place through the internet. It may be harder to spot, but it’s harmful behavior either way.

This is probably the most used plot point in Disney channel’s high school movies, and, if Graded didn’t have this, it wouldn’t be long until students would force the faculty to bring it back. Graded even indulges in the classic prom king and queen, although it should be mentioned that the school doesn’t have a number of other classic dances such as homecoming and a winter formal. While the fact there isn’t a gym to host the prom, the Black Box serves as Graded’s special twist on things.

Talent Show
If Napoleon Dynamite has to perform his dance routine somewhere, and if it weren’t for the talent show, where could it be? Although Graded hasn’t had a talent show in many years, the students have seemed to replace it with a tradition unique to our school, Zombie Zoo. The semesterly event is organized by Bricks in order of both students and faculty to show off their musical skills.

In the end, Graded compares pretty accurately with the expectation of high school as shown in American movies and TV shows. Keeping in mind that this comparison doesn’t consider the fact that these movies were made in different time periods and locations, Graded has met some of these clichés and improved on others. Considering that some of them are harmful to the community, that’s definitely a good thing. Just because São Paulo isn’t a small town in the United States and it isn’t the 80’s anymore doesn’t mean that these tropes aren’t as relevant as they were in the past. They’ve become modernized and unique from the influence of the Graded community. That being said, if someone joins Graded, they can guarantee themselves an experience the meets most of the classic expectations.