Published: Granite Bay Today, Jan. 27, 2015. (Online here)
Category: Leadership and Team Building
Reason for publication: Last year in Advanced Journalism we were assigned a group reporting project. While I, alongside my friends Olivia and Amanda, contributed to the interview and news gathering process, I wrote the majority of the story.
With gossip and drama circulating around the typical high school atmosphere, the potential of another problematic cloud would do more harm than good – stereotypes can produce the biggest storm.
All stereotypes originate from a truth but often end up overblown. Therefore the truth of the stereotype itself usually does not represent the school as a whole, and may be even generally untrue. For Granite Bay high school students, the popular opinion known by most as the ‘typical GBHS student’ is to be wealthy, snobby, stuck up and privileged in general.
“The Granite Bay [stereotype is that] kids are rich, spoiled and stuck up,” Rocklin high school junior Hayden Gibson said. And, while this stereotype embodies the most basic understanding of the population of GBHS, it proves to be mostly untrue for the majority.
“When I was a freshman transferring from Folsom to Granite Bay everyone…[reacted] like ‘oh, you’re going to Granite Bay? That’s full of white rich kids’, so that was my first impression,” senior Angelica Ramos said. “But honestly, when I actually ended up coming here it wasn’t that … high (of an) amount of white rich people.”
Granite Bay’s median household income in 2012 was over half the median California income, according to City Data. Homes located in Granite Bay are known to be mansion-esque, much like the houses located in the private neighborhoods of Los Lagos or Wexford.
GBHS also deals with a lack of racial diversity.
Taking a walk around the GBHS quad, plaid shirts, fancy cars and Sperry’s will be in abundance, but the attitude may come as an effect of living in a so-called “rich town.”
“They act like they’re above everybody else because that’s the way they were raised,” said junior Dylan Nicklin. “They act like they have more than other people therefore they’re better than other people.”
Wealth is often attributed to feelings of privilege and higher social standing, however Nicklin’s attitude is not commonly held amongst the GBHS population.
“My parents are fairly well off but it doesn’t really apply to me because I have to pay for everything that I get like gas and clothes,” senior Kelli McTague said. “Anything I have I’m not going to be flaunting it and I definitely am not stuck up and I don’t think of myself as better than other people. Everyone is very nice [at GBHS]. Even the kids who are very popular, they’re nice.”
In any high school, students will feel pressured to fit in and belong. Wealth is in common circulation around the Granite Bay community thus those who feel like they don’t belong in the average financial group may feel like they need to put on a facade to fit in.
“Kids always want to fit it in,” Nicklin said. “So there’s…two options: either you act like you have nothing or you act like you have everything, and more kids act like they have everything.”
Other students at GBHS hold the same opinion in that many of their fellow peers feel obligated and almost pressured to have money in order to be accepted.
“I think that people like to feel like they fit into that stereotype because if they don’t feel like they fit in…then they’re ‘poor’ or something like that,”Ramos said. “But even if you were just like middle class and poor in comparison, you’re still really well off so I don’t think that that is necessarily something people have to fall into.”
Wealth in the Granite Bay community may contribute to GBHS’ higher than average test scores. Whether as a result of monetary reward for high grades, paying for tutors or even paying to take the AP exam, money can be advantageous for students.
“People can pay for SAT prep courses and…private tutors,” senior Tyler Soares said. “So that’s definitely helpful.”
Others believe money in the Granite Bay community may influence education in this community in a different way. McTague said she thinks one of the reasons people are more wealthy is because of a higher education so therefore that family will influence their kids to be successful.
Another factor of the GBHS stereotype is a lack of racial and cultural diversity. The majority of the GBHS population consists of caucasians. But is lack of diversity necessarily a bad thing?
“It’s not like we’re all white,” McTague said. “We have a good amount of Filipinos and other [races.] We aren’t very diverse but I don’t think that affects our personality as a school.”
Nicklin agreed that the absence of diversity in the GBHS student body doesn’t have to be a bad thing because it doesn’t lead to ignorance or other harmful behaviors among the students. He also said for those students who do have different ethnicities, the student body accepts them as they are and does not treat them differently than anyone else.
Other students feel the lack of racial diversity isn’t a bad thing at all, and do not care whether or not racial diversity isn’t present or not.
“I don’t mind the lack of racial diversity,” senior Cole Moore said. “I understand what’s out there and a lot of people think that [Granite Bay students] don’t get it, but I do get it. Granite Bay is just a safer place than somewhere in Sacramento. It’s safer here because we have less gangs.”
While elements of the stereotype are true, and often overblown to varying degree, other students do not feel like they fit or prove the GBHS stereotype at all.
“My family, we don’t really have much,” Nicklin said. “We live from check to check. You always see people roll up in Corvettes and brand new cars that are expensive, and my family could never afford that, and most of my friends and their families couldn’t afford that.”
Amanda Ramos, aforementioned, is another GBHS student who feels like she does not fit the Granite Bay stereotype because of cultural and personal reasons.
“[The stereotype] doesn’t apply to me at all,” Ramos said. “Firstly, I’m Filipino and secondly, I live in sort of upper-middle class since I come from Folsom. In a way, I fit partially into the spectrum… but not as much as some people here in Granite Bay. I always notice how [people in Granite Bay] go around with their nice cars and some people are just like ‘oh yeah, I messed up my shoes, I’m going to go buy a new pair’ I’m like ‘okay I’ll just wait until my shoes die.’”
Additionally, the snobby, stuck-up attitude commonly included in the assumption of a typical GBHS student is lacking in validity when the attitude held by the majority of the GBHS population is assessed.
“I think the kids [at GBHS] are rich, but I don’t think they’re as snobby as people make them out to be,” Woodcreek high school junior Haley Dust said. “I just think people assume that if someone’s rich then they’re snobby.”
Fellow Woodcreek junior Mikayla Houlihan agreed that the people she has met who attend GBHS are still very nice, even when they fit the “rich” stereotype.
“I’ve met plenty of people who don’t work with the stereotype that you wouldn’t know went to Granite Bay if they didn’t tell you that they did,” said Houlihan.
It is vital to remember that even if a stereotype is true to some degree, it is wrong to classify a group of people into one image or treat someone differently because of a stereotype.
“Because this is the wealthiest … area and everyone … makes assumptions and some people (do prove the stereotype) they just assume everyone does, but it’s definitely not the majority,” Soares said. “ Most people are reasonable and down to earth.”
While stereotypes are not always true, Nicklin said he believes they have to have come from a sort of twisted truth.
“All stereotypes have a root.”