Branching Out In Western Branch


Grace Klauer, Journalist

At one point in everybody’s lives, we have all struggled to make friends. Particularly in high school, trying to fit social norms and molds in an attempt to seem “cool” can be an exhausting feat. 

Western Branch High School is no exception to cliques and popularity. Are there avoidable circumstances for inclusivity or is loneliness an inescapable road? 

“Personally, joining sports and clubs helped me make friends. Going to events as well, even asking someone for help on an assignment can start up a conversation.” Elizabeth Hamilton, 12, said.

Western Branch contains a large number of students coming from military families, Hamilton is one of them. 

“Coming from a military kid, I feel like it hasn’t been too difficult finding friends. This most recent move I had a friend to start out with who used to live with me in Japan and we kept in touch,” Hamilton said. “It made it easier to make friends and navigate groups, having confidence as well to expand because I had someone to fall back on.”

However, this has not been everybody’s experience of being new to Western Branch. Alejandro Garrido Rodriguez is a foreign exchange student from Spain, spending his senior year in the United States. 

“My first impression of people at Western Branch was that they were so quiet. The people don’t want to talk and I don’t know if this is because of doing online school during quarantine, but nobody wants to speak and I thought, ‘What’s happening? This is not the impression of America that I had.’” Garrido Rodriguez said.

Similarly to most high schools, the social hierarchy of popularity is prevalent. 

“Normally having lots of friends makes a person popular, or alternatively having a rumor spread around, which goes mouth to mouth, and finally everyone knows your name.” Garrido Rodriquez said.

Students are not the only ones at Western Branch to observe this, Administrators have taken note as well.

David Grady, the Sophomore Class Assistant Principal, had a few words of his own to say.

“Popularity is an issue across the nation, probably across the world. People seek out groups of people that they identify with and a lot of times they restrict their levels of sociability,” said Mr. Grady. 

Mr. Grady had some advice as well for students struggling to make friends. 

“Learn how to be a friend. The best way to be a friend is to talk to someone, ask them questions, and show interest in them. Hopefully, by extension, they will return the favor and show interest in you,” Grady said. 

Nevertheless, exactly how does Western Branch High School make it easier for students to make friends? Rest assured, Mr. Grady had an answer for that as well. 

“We have tons of activities and clubs, they are extracurricular. We also have many sponsors that are willing to invest in students’ sociability and emotional support even. So just seek out those clubs, they’re on our website and you can go and investigate for one that best suits your personality,” Grady said.

Making friends can be tedious and tiring, but making the effort is what counts. Remember to branch out to your fellow Western Branchers and make somebody’s day.