An Honest Opinion on the Toxic Environment of Ward Melville

Serena Carpino, Staff Writer

With many students competing for GPAs in the top 10%, board positions in clubs, or spots on varsity sports teams, high schools are some of the most competitive and toxic environments that teenagers are a part of. Ward Melville is no exception to this, and many students have experienced harmful effects due to the toxic comments made by peers or other members of the school community.

Though students can sometimes be heard complaining about toxicity in school, these comments are ironic in that most of the mentally straining and demeaning words come from students themselves. For example, the amount of times I have heard someone complain about a grade less than 100 is much more than I can count. Of course, most people would like perfect grades on all assignments. However, students who make such remarks often do so in front of those who they know received a score less than them, which can be incredibly detrimental to one’s mental health.

Another toxic aspect of high school is the number of students who are made fun of for getting grades that are not as good as their peers’ grades. Many times, students who receive lower scores than their friends on tests are made fun of for not being as smart. These comments are usually brushed off by others as a joke, though they can hurt one’s confidence and negatively affect a person’s mental health.

Another area of toxicity can be clubs and sports. Since it is beneficial for college to have a leadership position in an activity, many students often compete for board positions in clubs and sports. This can create a toxic environment revolving around competition rather than the stress-free, fun place that after-school activities are supposed to be. 

Of course, everyone has different experiences, and I personally have found after-school sports to be one of the few school environments in which the people are genuinely uplifting and want to see everyone succeed. Being involved in this type of environment has been a great stress reliever, and I actually recommend that students try out a school sport if they would like to have time to de-stress and have fun.