Many schools across the country house off-campus clubs and social groups, which are supposed to be sources of comfort and companionship for the teenagers of a campus and a good time for alumni who can afford to join. But a new study of two well-heeled schools in Orange County shows that these groups can also be ideal havens for students who are struggling with unusual class or social situations.
The picture emerges from interviews with students who attended Winter Springs High School, a Roman Catholic school with about 1,700 students in Winter Springs, Florida, and the Pine View High School, a private high school in nearby Lake Forest, which is co-ed and has less than 300 students. In recent years, both schools have seen an influx of highly qualified students from Orange County’s troubled public schools, which are in deep debt and have suffered a surge in dropouts. These students can be tough to accommodate, because they don’t want to split their time between two schools. Studies show that students who live in affluent homes are more likely to be the lone children. Many have parents with top-notch academic resumes, putting them at a great advantage over the competition.