Relationships, Rumors, and Reputations: Dating at PHS

Ava Adarkar, Campus Editor

In a small town like Piedmont, meeting new people and expanding one’s social circle can seem like an impossible task. Students at PHS have known each other their whole lives. They have experienced all of the monumental moments of growing up together: learning to read, attending birthday parties and Bat Mitzvahs, and dealing with the awkward phases of middle school. 

This proximity creates a close-knit culture, a culture which heavily affects student relationships. For new students, starting at PHS means integrating into a world where dating a friend (or cousin’s) middle school ex-boyfriend is not an unusual occurrence. This is the case for senior Julia Shalev, who started attending PHS during the 2021-22 school year.

“It’s been difficult coming into a place where [everyone] has so much history with each other, especially being brand new in the middle of junior year,” Shalev said.

She has been dating senior Jordan Miller for 11 months. While attending Piedmont Middle School, Miller dated Shalev’s cousin, senior Sophia Kalamas.

“It was definitely a little weird at first, but it was so long ago, so it wasn’t really a big deal,” Kalamas said.

Although tension exists in this overlap culture, Shalev said that she acknowledges that having history with classmates and peers is not unique to Piedmont.

“We all have history. I have my own history at a whole different school. [For me] it’s [about] moving forward, and how to do that. And how to be good with each other going forward,” Shalev said.

Another element of having a close community is the transparency that comes with it. When students have gone to the same schools for 13 years, they are bound to know more about each other. Sophomore Ishaia Goldberg-Berman said that at PHS, keeping things private is not always possible. She is dating sophomore Enzo Bernales.

“Being in a relationship at Piedmont is different because our school is so small. Everyone knows everyone, and everybody knows who’s dating who, and a lot about other people’s lives and relationships,” said Goldberg-Bergman.

For some students, the culture that exists around relationships only discourages them from dating.

“Dating at Piedmont is hard because it is so secluded,” said an anonymous sophomore. “The new people that come to [PHS] tend to stick with other new people and form their own social groups.”

The inherent social hierarchy that is present within Piedmont makes it even harder to find a compatible partner.

“There are titles for every friend group. Popular people date each other,” said one anonymous sophomore. “If one of us were to have a crush on a popular guy, he wouldn’t like us.” 

This means that many students do not feel comfortable showing interest in people who they think are in a different social group.

“I wouldn’t feel comfortable pursuing someone in another clique. I don’t have the confidence to branch out,” said another anonymous sophomore.

Although there are difficulties surrounding dating, many students enjoy being in relationships, including Shalev.

“I was single the first two years of high school, so I got to experience that point of view. It’s nice to always have someone to hang out with and talk to, and someone to support you. It’s been a really great experience and Jordan is a great boyfriend,” Shalev said. 

Although dating in Piedmont has its own unique trials and tribulations, yet some students are able to form and maintain meaningful relationships.