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Pacer Notes

EUCKERStudents are back in school, returning to the routine of waking up early, meeting new teachers and learning about an array of topics, including “affect” vs. “effect,” the Pythagorean theorem and the Cold War.

Yet with these positive aspects of school beginning, there is also a lot of pressure on students. Students face the burden of getting good grades, tackling busy schedules, fitting in at school and embracing the “cool factor.”

During summer break, many families traveled and took time off from their nonstop schedules, and students got to let loose without any fear of judgment from their peers. Now back in session, are students shielding themselves from the vulnerability of being different? Are kids embracing their popularity or their individuality?

There is no way to know with certainty if a person is covering up their crazy fun quirks to fit in, but it seems there are a lot of quirky and fun vibes among the students in Lake Oswego that contradict the critical views of high school students portrayed by movies like “Mean Girls.”

Though both Lake Oswego and Lakeridge exude a formality that drives students to become avid learners, there is also a sense of social ease that allows students to dress casually and to become friends with peers and teachers from a multitude of classes. This laid-back attitude welcomes students to stress less about their looks and status, and to focus instead on making new relationships and especially finding new things that they love.

At Lakeridge, LINK Crew helps integrate freshmen into the school in a positive manner, and English teacher Kate Thomason, the program’s co-coordinator, speaks about unhooking the “bungee cord” that ties many of us to our best friends. By detaching from the safety of friends, each student has the chance to do individual things that they enjoy, which is why there is individuality in Lake Oswego.

In such an accepting environment, students can bolster their hobbies by creating cool clubs such as the fruit-snacks club, or the Ping-Pong club. Students also gain the confidence to try out for new sports teams, engage in plays or enroll in challenging classes.

Popularity isn’t an item of envy; rather, many students strive to encompass individuality and embrace being unique and spirited. Sure, trends exist, and some teens dress to impress or post on media to better their appearance. Yet students seem to be latching onto the idea that the cliché “be yourself” may really have potent meaning.

Lakeridge High School junior Ava Eucker is one of two Pacer Notes columnists for The Review. This is her first column. Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..