The social scene of teen night life

There are over 1500 students at Cleveland who spend most of the daylight hours inside school. But what do all these people do after hours on weekends?

“I hangout with my friends or stay home and watch Netflix,” junior Kaytlin Gaines said, when asked about her weekend nightlife. While both activities are extremely popular among teenagers, another thing a lot of people do is partying.

As a high school student, the word ‘party’ is almost immediately associated with drugs and alcohol. When a lot of teenagers get together unsupervised, why wouldn’t substances be involved? Parties draw huge crowds from different social groups, but not everyone goes just for the rush of flooding their systems with intoxicants.

“We go to parties occasionally,” said juniors Sydney Williams and Grace Benefiel. “They’re fun. It’s an interesting social scene. You get to know people in a different way than you do when you’re at school,” Williams added.

For a lot of other students, parties are the way into the complex social system of high school. Freshman Kai Schroeder and junior Audrie Powell agreed that they go to parties because that’s where their friends are. “I don’t regularly go to parties, but I do occasionally,” Powell said. She and Schroeder also agreed on another thing: Portland needs a spot for teenagers to hang out that’s not in a party scene.

“I Google ‘What to do on a Friday night’ and the only results are for people over 21,” said junior Annalena Eckton. So where do you go on a weekend?

“I think there should be underage nightclubs,” Gaines said. “Someplace where kids can go out and have this experience like adults have, but in a safe and legal way.” Gaines isn’t the only one to have that idea. Williams and Benefiel agreed, saying that a teen nightclub would be super popular among Portland teens.

“That would honestly be the coolest thing,” Benefiel said. Clubs like this have existed before, specializing in entertaining teenagers.

“We used to have Venue 126,” said senior Ben Dorfman, “but it was only open one night a week, and even then was only 16 and up.” Dorfman went on to suggest that maybe existing nightclubs could have certain nights dedicated just to teenagers, so they could maintain a solid business while providing for more than just adults.

While people enjoy lots of different aspects of parties, it seems like the most appealing part is the social scene. Lots of students voiced opinions about how they disliked the drugs and alcohol, but felt left out socially if they didn’t attend.

Whether you’re into partying or not, it sounds like other opportunities could be explored that cater to the desires of teenagers as well as the concerns of parents. While a teen nightclub may not be a reality right now, it only takes a business plan to turn a concept into a thriving teen hot spot.