Although Marlborough claims to be a close-knit and warm environment, and students are mostly friendly with one another, the student body still consists of cliques. We at the UltraViolet believe that is it important to end the exclusivity of cliques so that students can spend time with anyone at the School without feeling unwelcome.
In 7th and 9th grade, the School encourages grade-wide bonding by offering class trips. However, these trips serve as only temporary fixes to a long-term problem. Spending a couple days apart from your closest friends doesn’t change the fact that when students go back to school, they are going to spend time with the same groups of friends they did before. Another goal of the trips is to welcome and include new students, which is a challenge for new students because already-formed friend groups are often unwilling to let new girls join.
During class meetings, class councils organize icebreaker games to get students to talk to classmates they don’t normally socialize with. While this is an admirable effort, most students are reluctant to participate and don’t express any desire to engage in “forced” bonding. The council needs to find a way to engage students in bonding activities and possibly have students vote on what they want to do.
While the UltraViolet recognizes that cliques might be more prevalent in some grades than others, we think that the School should encourage more intermingling between grades. Traditionally, there is a tension between juniors and seniors, and it is uncommon to see students from different grades say “hello” to each other in the hallways, unless they have a sibling connection. Additionally, the UltraViolet staff notices that middle school students seem reluctant to socialize with older students unless directed to do so by programs like Senior Buddies. Similarly, upper school students tend to act superior around middle school students.
The UltraViolet staff believes it is time for change in the Marlborough student body. Friend groups are natural, but exclusivity is not. With more consistent efforts from the School to rid tensions between upper and middle school students and bring together different groups of friends within the same grade levels, we may eventually see friendly groups of juniors and sophomores sitting together in the hallways.