The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

Matching up between mis-matched grades

Chloe De Leon
Woodside hosts several relationships that span between different grade levels.

Inter-gradal couples explained the details and experiences of their relationship.

High school is a time when many teenagers start relationships. Students explained that as teens start approaching adulthood, the idea of dating outside of their grade level becomes an option. Talking to both couples and individuals about their inter-gradal relationship gave students an opportunity to discuss the challenges, benefits, and situations they face. Sophomore Ava Bey and Senior Nikita Nezhichkin began their relationship earlier this school year.

“There were a lot of people that just didn’t like me,” Bey said. “Also, it was like seniors would just go up to him and ask him if he was a pedo.”

A common saying on social media when discussing inter-gradal relationships is that “if the grades don’t touch, neither should you.” Upon searching up this saying on TikTok, several videos with hundreds of thousands of likes reprimanding age-gap relationships appear. Junior Matthew Nowell, dating a senior, expressed similar experiences dealing with people commenting on their age gap.

“I just laughed it off,” Nowell said. “It is really dumb. It is not that much different in grades.”

This relationship does differ from Bey’s and Nezhichkin’s (grades 10 and 12) in the sense that the age gap is smaller. However, even when the grades do not touch, the people around the relationship seemed to just get used to it. A friend of Nezhichkin’s explained that he was initially reluctant about their relationship but is now one of their supporters.

“We used to get a lot of criticism, especially in the beginning,” Nezhichkin said. “Now it’s like not really a thing anymore, but I just don’t really care [about the criticism].”

Different from their experiences with peers, these students shared that their parents did not have many concerns with the age gap in their relationships.

“[My parents] do not care about his grade,” Bey said. “They just care about actions.”

Other students predicted that their parent’s reactions might be different based on how big the age gap between them and their partner is. Sophomore Emylia Hanni, who has a boyfriend in his junior year, talked about her parent’s support of her relationship.

“If I was freaking around with a senior, [my parents] probably would not appreciate that,” Hanni said.

Besides external pressures, most of the students interviewed did not feel particular challenges based on the age gap in their relationship. Some of the key benefits for the younger partners were experiences that come with age. Hanni was excited she would get to go to prom. Nowell had someone to help him with classes. Bey had someone who could drive her around.

“For me, [maturity is] a negative,” Nezhichkin said. “For [Bey] it’s a positive because [she] is younger than I am.”

Individuality and one’s own experiences can often uphold a relationship and its positive impacts on the partners.

“[When] you’re not in the same grade, you don’t have the same experiences,” Nowell said. “We are going to talk about more.”

At this point in the school year, many seniors are getting back college letters and making decisions on their post high school plans. Regarding relationships where one partner is a senior, students had different ideas for what would happen after graduation.

“We just are ignoring it until it happens,” Bey said.

Couples have to discuss aspects like potentially becoming long-distance or going their separate ways. Bey and Nezhichkin seemed to want to find the most amicable way to approach this.

“We’ll definitely have a plan,” Nezhichkin said. “We will figure out something that will work out for both of us.”

Nowell had more specifics of where his relationship will probably go as the end of his girlfriend’s senior year approaches.

“I have an idea what’s gonna happen,” Nowell said. “We are going to go our own ways, which I think is fine. I want her to succeed and she wants me to succeed.”

Despite the critics of their relationships, all of the students seemed to share a genuine care for their partners. They found ways to playfully deal with their struggles while still being able to appreciate each other.

“I mean, I don’t really see any benefits but we can name some challenges,” Nezhichkin joked.

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About the Contributor
Chloe De Leon
Chloe De Leon, Multimedia/Online Editor
Chloe de Leon is a junior and second-year journalist. She enjoys writing about culture, lifestyle, entertainment, and local news. In her free time, she takes part in math club, plays piano, and plays on her school’s varsity tennis team.

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