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  • Zoe Fisher

What Do GW Students Think of Us?

GW's Kogan Plaza, between G and H Streets NW across the street from Walls / Credits: Zoe Fisher

At some point in our high school careers, most Walls students have wondered, “What do GW students think of us?” Walls students have many assumptions about GW’s opinions, but what they actually think of Walls is largely unknown and may be surprising.

Most GW students did not have much information about the high school. A few graduate students had no idea Walls even existed until they were asked what they knew about it. However, most of the university’s limited perspectives derive from lunchtime and occasional classes with Walls students.

A junior in the undergraduate program, Madeleine Lei, stated, “This is actually the first time I have heard about School Without Walls. I knew about schools around here, but I did not know about [it].”

Brynn Sophie Taylor, a junior, said that she sees Walls students, “hoarding around in the food places and in the dome in Kogan… at least someone’s enjoying our campus.”

The other interviewees who knew about Walls said it was their tendency to travel in groups and large backpacks that gave Walls kids away.

An anonymous GW student thought Walls was an art school. “Just watching people walk by, I feel like their style is different compared to a normal public high school,” the student said. “It's a lot more artsy or edgy.”

They also thought the high schoolers possess a “general vibe of naïveté.”

Some GW students get annoyed by the presence of high schoolers. Emma Westcott, a senior, explained, “You guys do not do anything wrong, but we are bitter, and if we see a group of you guys being happy and loud and exuberant we are like, ‘ugh shut up.’”

Taylor added, “It's not a reflection of how I feel about you guys, it's just a reflection of how I feel about life and youth. It’s hard to tell if they're a really young freshman or a Walls kid. And if they’re annoying, I’ll respond the same way.”

On the social media platform Jeti, there is an online community of GW students who complain about Walls. “I have to pass you guys to go to class a lot, and sometimes you’re like singing, and walking in your groups,” Westcott said, “and I put that on Jeti one time. [It got] tons of ‘up votes.’”

Taylor added, “Enough people have the critical thinking skills to not go like ‘all the Walls kids suck.’ I'm sure we’ve all said it and tweeted about it, but we don’t actually think that.”

Joey, a GW first-year, explained, “We’ve got plenty of annoying people here anyway, so like, it can’t be worse than our fellow GW students.”

Many GW students have only met their high school counterparts on rare occasions through the GW Early College Program. The program allows Walls juniors and seniors to enroll full-time in college and work towards an associate’s degree.

Some GW students said they enjoyed the company of their younger classmates. In fact, senior Abi Ingoglia said, “I was friends with a Walls kid when I was a freshman.”

GW junior Eliana Pirotti said, “I had a friend who had a class with a Walls kid. They just thought that [the Walls student] was cool and smart, and they felt very insecure having a high schooler in their class who was doing better than them.”

Her friend, Leona Freedman, another junior, agreed. “I would not be as confident [as Walls students are] walking around a college campus when I was in high school,” she said.

Pirotti, acknowledging the singularity of Walls students’ position, said, “I think it's great that high schoolers are being given opportunities to have really cool experiences and show that they are really smart. Because I think that you guys are really smart, and people don't give you enough credit. So to give you the opportunity to take college classes is really dope.”

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