The Central/Highland experience

By: Charlotte Lane grade 11

I attended Central High School the year of 2017-2018. Like all incoming high school freshman, I was confused and nervous. I attended Highland Park Middle School and really enjoyed it. There, I made a lot of friends and we were all planning on going to Highland Park High School together.

Unfortunately, things didn’t go the way I wanted and I ended up being placed at Central High School without my friends. This heart breaking change completely blind sided me, but through it I gained perspective on the differences of Central vs. Highland.  

Two different worlds

My first memorable experience as a new student was the Central vs. Highland football game. Being a Central student I sat at the Central student section at the game.

When entering the stadium I felt anxious because my old friends sat on the opposing side, and I found myself wishing to be with them. The Central side was nerve-racking and felt just like what you see in the movies. 

The students were screaming “go home freshman!” and “Highland Sucks!” After 20 minutes I took off my Central sweatshirt and snuck across to the Highland side.

Although I felt comfortable for a few minutes I quickly realized I didn’t belong there either. It is not an uncommon feeling for any new student to feel lost and alone.

Looking back on this time in my life, now being a junior at Highland Park High School, it now feels like a normal coming of age experience. 

So what’s the difference? 

Central is a French immersion school compared to Highland, which is a Spanish immersion school.

Central is also a bigger school with a graduating class of 400 students. The large size teaches you independence, shows you diversity as well as real world conflicts. 

Highland is a smaller school with a graduating class of 300. It is more sports focused and feels more like a neighborhood school.

Both high schools are International Baccalaureate (IB), however my experience has been that Highland integrates and focuses more on the IB program than at Central.

Families pain-stakingly choose their child’s high school for lots of different reasons. Some parents are looking for a challenging curriculum, others are interested in extracurricular activities.

What I learned from attending Central for one year was that both Highland and Central are good schools.

What school is best for you?  

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