Sibling Rivalry

I always envisioned my high school years as a cross between “Dazed and Confused” and “High School Musical 2.” I soon came to realize my experience would be quite different. As a Hockadaisy, I couldn’t help but feel that something was missing. Namely, boys.

Because I started at Hockaday at the ripe old age of 4, I didn’t have much say in my educational path, but as I grew up, I came to identify what I was getting out of my Hockaday education… and what I wasn’t.

A brother/sister school relationship aims to promote a friendly, positive dynamic between the students without stifling the growth that takes place throughout the school day and in the classroom, and I think a single-sex educational environment was great for me academically.

There are obvious successes that result from brother/sister school relationships, but, in my experience, there are also some missing puzzle pieces.

Since fourth grade, we were encouraged to establish relationships with our St. Mark’s peers. And while we have yet to truly experience co-ed interaction in an academic setting, socializing with boys has been pretty standard since a young age. As we’ve gotten older, though,  these relationships have become more complicated.

“In Middle School, being friends with boys was easier because we didn’t have as much work, but as we’ve gotten older, even the social aspect of our brother/sister school relationship is strained,” senior Hannah said.

But as technology takes over and school work piles up for both Hockadaisies and Marksmen, high school offers less opportunity for face-to-face interaction, and I don’t think that the results are necessarily good.

In the past couple of years, I’ve noticed more and more animosity and competition between Hockaday and St. Mark’s. It seems counterintuitive, and most students don’t have to deal with the nuances of a brother/sister school relationship whilst simultaneously trying to navigate the confusions of high school.

Students at co-ed schools are required to work and interact with many different people in their grade, but at Hockaday and St. Mark’s, the only interaction we get is through purely social events and situations, limiting who we know and how well we know them and giving each student a very one-sided persona.

The difference between a single-sex school and a brother/sister relationship is that all students are supposed to benefit from social interaction with the opposite sex, but it seems that without some sort of academic involvement, socializing isn’t complete. A couple dances and sporting events aren’t enough to make some of the less social students meet each other.

“Being at a single-sex school, the main drawback is that we do not get everyday interaction with girls, which hinders our social development,” Peter, St. Mark’s senior and student body president, said.

I understand that the whole point of single-sex education is to separate students so they can perform at their highest capabilities without distraction, but there are other educational and cultural ways that we can interact.

Lectures, field trips to the arboretum or the Nasher Sculpture Center, and other co-ed events should be held when the students are younger. An annual kick-off party would be a great way to start off the academic year. As we get older, it is even more important to encourage interaction in a non-social setting.

“One thing that I’d love to see happen would be a senior class that students from both schools could take,” Peter said.

Opportunities to get to know St. Mark’s boys in many different settings would foster a healthy relationship. And while going to a single-sex school will always be out of the norm, I guess I should just be glad that my high school experience was more “Gossip Girl” and less “Napoleon Dynamite.”

– Allie