Are Cliques at Greenwich High School Set in Stone?

By Alexa Loera, GHS Class of 2026

Cliques. Groups. Inner circles. Whatever term you use, we’ve all heard of them. They make up the basis for almost every movie set in high school, and seem to play a large role in society’s perception of adolescents. The question is, are the stereotypes true? Does GHS have cliques?

There’s no doubt that GHS offers a wide variety of extracurricular activities, from theater productions to sports. However, most of these offerings require large time commitments, forcing many students to pick only one activity to pursue.

Meanwhile, while many choose to pursue two extracurriculars, this typically results in them having less time for things such as homework, which in turn leads to them staying up late at night, which can have negative consequences on their well-being.

As sophomore Petra Prepiak explained, “I do think a lot of extracurriculars prevent people from exploring other interests.”

As a result of this, students naturally stick to those in the same extracurriculars as them, and cliques develop throughout GHS.

“Whether you have classes with only honors students, play water polo, or spend all your time in the D-wing, you’re bound to become a group of jocks, theater kids, or something else,” sophomore Abby Meyers suggested.

This may also be happening due to the fact that these extracurricular activities encourage their participants to group together – which is not necessarily a bad thing. Speaking from personal experience, if I didn’t have friends on the ski team, or in the orchestra, I wouldn’t even know about important events for these activities, such as races and concerts.

Others find themselves in the same situation.

“If I didn’t have theater friends I would never have even set foot in the Black Box Theater,” Petra said. “I don’t think I would have even known that it existed, honestly.”

I recently asked Mr. Pereira, the Dean of Student Life, about the efforts made by administration to promote a more unified environment, and whether or not these efforts have succeeded.

“I think it’s really important that most people tend to lean towards what they’re used to, but to be comfortable in their own skin and to enter those other groups to be comfortable to invite other people to them as well,” he said.

Of the school’s efforts to promote unity, Mr. Pereira said, “You have the Diversity Action Club, that’s working with all of the different affinity groups for that. You certainly had the cultural celebration that we do – like Hispanic Heritage Month. We’re in Black History Month.”

“We really hope that many of our student leaders of those diversity clubs will help celebrate those things,” he added.

However, Pereira also acknowledged that many students still might not be aware of these events despite the school’s efforts, referring to “email blindness.”

“I think we certainly have tried to our communication, like the monitors that are all up around school, and the digital app that we’re using, Minga, has almost a Facebook wall kind of feed that we’re currently working on developing the group levels for that.”

Ultimately, it appears that despite a recent increase in efforts to promote unity, most students are unaware of events that happen around the school if they’re not actively involved in them, and it seems that “cliques” persevere at GHS. So, what can be done?

The main issue seems to be time. If students don’t have the time to explore other interests, or simply become aware of school events, then it’s likely that this will continue.

A possible solution would be to lower the time commitments that certain extracurriculars require, but this would likely be a long and tedious process, and it may not be possible at all, as it would involve changing policies across the school, which is easier said than done.

On the other hand, the school could also work toward organizing school-wide activities that would introduce kids to different areas of GHS. For instance, many sophomores were taken to see GHS production of Macbeth during the school day with their English classes. A fun and original way to spend class, the in-school field trips were both entertaining and educational, since sophomores are required to read Macbeth as part of the curriculum. They also exposed many students to GHS theater productions.

When asked if the field trip helped students explore a new side of GHS, Petra said, “Definitely! I do think GHS should organize more events like this because they’re so fun! This also might encourage some students to participate in a show themselves, and they could find their new passion.”

A similar opinion was expressed by senior Jack Glass, who starred in the production of Macbeth.

“I think that the in-school shows definitely exposed students to an aspect of the school that they haven’t had contact with before,” Jack said. “I don’t think it encouraged more kids to join theater, but it helped enrich people’s individual connections to the wider GHS community, with some never having even come down to the lower D-Wing before.”

Jack said he believed in-school field trips like the one to the Shakespeare play would increase student awareness of the events occurring around campus.

“Already we’ve taken measures in theater to attract more students to our shows,” he said. “We love to share what we do and we simply hope that people will love to come and watch.”

Having similar events, for instance, a Prep Rally event for winter and spring sports as well as throughout the school year could get students out of their “comfort zone,” further increasing school spirit and a sense of community.

Of course, other things can be done, but it will take the combined efforts of both students and staff  to fix the apparent divide between students with different interests or characteristics.

As Mr. Pereira suggested, “In order to create more unity, I think just be willing and open to see people from different perspectives. Everybody brings their own positive light to things, but you need to be open and willing to see things from another individual side.”

After all, to quote the one high school movie we all know, “we’re all in this together.”