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Opinion: Moving To District Is Not Always Easy

Joining community comes with challenges
Photo by Matteo Winandy
Junior Allie Rose Olmstead reads a book for her English class. She moved to the district from Tulsa, Oklahoma where she attended a small private school. “I was intimidated to come a big public school,” Olmstead said.

“The Bubble” is a term used pridefully throughout Highland Park news outlets, podcasts and even high school clubs. Though displayed as a good thing, “The Bubble” turns transferring students’ lives into a nightmare.

Because it has led to the high school becoming so cliquey, “The Bubble,” which came to be as a result of the long family lineages in the Park Cities, has created an environment in which there is limited room for diversity and new students have a hard time fitting in.

Other schools in Texas, such as Allen High School, have communities large enough that students have the freedom to make friends and get settled. Our high school, on the other hand, is home to a community which actively prevents new students from learning their way around. Because 82.1% of Highland Park students are white and the average household is a little over $218,000, the stereotype of the rich, white kid thrives, creating a somewhat toxic culture for those who don’t fit into this small niche.

I transferred to the district as a new student last year at McCullough Middle School. It was 8th grade and, because we had just finished a full year of online school, I had lived outside of the classroom environment for nearly two years. 

I’ll admit, it was rough. In fact, it wasn’t until the second semester that I finally learned the proper way to act and dress in “The Bubble”.

Many of the families in the Park Cities have been in this school district for generations. Oddly enough, I fall into this category. 

Though I grew up in Austin, both my dad and grandma grew up in the neighborhood and graduated from the high school. Now, my brother and I are continuing this legacy in going to school here.

It didn’t take long for me to conform to the trends seen throughout the halls. In less than a year, I began dressing in Lululemon and Free People every day, and while it doesn’t hurt anyone, it’s certainly shocking that new students feel they need to conform to these ridiculous trends if they want any chance of being accepted. Students should be comfortable with wearing what they want rather than what is deemed “popular” and shouldn’t feel pressured to be anyone but their authentic selves. 

Another impact that “The Bubble” has on the high school culture is the incredibly strong emphasis on perfection, sportsmanship and success, which is prevalent throughout academics and sports alike. While these traits should certainly be valued, their reverence inhibits the heavy majority of students who don’t stand out of the crowd.

Of course, the well-bound nature of this community also creates an extremely safe and positive environment for young children, so if there were to be more of an emphasis on making students who don’t fit the mold of “The Bubble” comfortable and welcome, then that would be ideal.

About the Contributor
Augusta McKenzie
Augusta McKenzie, Reporter
What are you looking forward to on the staff this year? Hanging out with the Newspaper staff. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?  A tree house on a small island or in the rainforest with tons of colorful birds. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Pasta