The school environment causes natural polarization of peoples with similar backgrounds, attitudes, or any other factors that would form certain peer groups, or ‘cliques’. This is particularly observable in the High School setting, as the predominant social groups are composed of adolescents who are beginning their socialization process. This socialization forms various groupings or factions that are highly noticeable in High School.
The modern media, who continually builds on and establish the perceived cliques and groups in movies, shows, and other media venues, is repeatedly echoing the reality. This has created stereotypes of High School cliques, such as: (1) the popular group, (2) athletes, (3) nerds, (4) racial segregation, (5) pop-culture groups like rockers and hip-hop, (6) outcasts, and (7) other groups. The converging elements of a particular faction can be varied and numerous. These cliques can be students who eat together, or hang out with each other after class.
Racial profile can also be a strong factor, as with the social class and background. Even personal preference and culture can bring together different kinds of peoples. High school youth converge because of the reason that they find something in common with the group that they are with. The first clique in High School is the popular student. Usually they are the student leaders or even cheerleaders and well-known members of the student body. They can be socially advantaged as they are driving newer cars or organizing fancier parties.
They can be part of the group on the merit that they are simply popular in the batch. These students are usually the first ones remembered and recalled in reunions or gatherings. They are seen as role models, or at the other extreme, a source of jealousy and hatred. The second group, the athletes, can overlap with this first group, because basketball and football players can be highly popular in High School. Another High School clique are the nerds, who are the most participative in class or gets the highest grades in any subject.
They would congregate in the canteen and converse about math or politics or any other academic topic. They are stereotyped as being shy and wearing big glasses, and are very grade conscious and studious. Apart from this group, other cliques can be divided according to culture lines, like rockers or hip-hops. They are usually secluded and non-conventionalists, and would gather on their own parties and gatherings. Another notable group are outcasts, who are usually the but of jokes, and would have severe emotional and psychological problems.
Some would also note that racial background would be a strong determinant in formation of cliques. Asians or African Americans or Caucasians would most likely hang-out with each other, which does not imply discrimination, but merely cultural identification. They also form different and very distinguishable cliques in High School. High School is the stage of life wherein social interaction is at its most dynamic, as young adolescents are placed in a social environment outside their homes, and forced to polarize into different groups.
Although these High School cliques can be regarded as mere stereotypes that may not always necessary be apparent in a social context, there is a ring of truth in the observations. Since the school is a hodgepodge of different backgrounds and cultures, it is natural for the youth to find people they are familiar and comfortable with. This reality, coupled with media hype, reinforces the perception that different High School cliques do exist.