High school is a special experience in American life with a culture and a mythology all its own. This is the time of life when boys and girls awkwardly discover each other. High school might be the last stop on the educational journey for many, or it may serve to prepare the student for a subsequent college education. Motivated students sometimes accomplish a great deal of learning during high school while others do little but allow the years to pass. Public high school exist in all communities. Private high schools, sometimes with religious affiliations, serve different constituencies.
The terms “freshman, sophomore, junior and senior” refer to the first through fourth years of high school. In high school, students study English, literature, foreign languages, math and science, history, geography and other academic subjects. Some large high schools have divisions teaching vocational subjects the likes of auto mechanics, cooking, and so forth. High school might also offer “honors classes” for particularly bright students.
Some states give basic skills exams during the latter stages of the high school process, assuring that at least some academic standards are set, but, again, high school curricula see great variance among communities.
High school sports, particularly basketball and football, are often extremely organized. Inter-city and cross-town rivalries occur, especially in communities that do not have their own professional sports teams. Nearly all high school teams have nicknames with associated mascots: the Knights, the Tigers, the Warriors, being some well-used examples. Cheerleading squads do their part to keep the action going.
High schools in the United States see their share of youth unrest, including alcoholism drug abuse, suicide, violence, teen pregnancy, and crime.
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