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Going the Distance: couples overcome school separation

By Ariel Rivkin
Published: February 2010

The movies always show couples who go to the same high school. Sandy and Danny from Grease both went to Rydell High School, and Gabriella and Troy from High School Musical both attended East High. Well, in relationship-world, they had it easy.

Conveniently, both couples attended the same high school, providing both couples with frequent time to spend time with one another. But for couples who don’t attend the same school, maintaining relationships can be difficult and stressful.

Hannah Robinson, a junior at Newton South High School and her boyfriend Zach, a junior at Swampscott High School, are an example of an interschool relationship. The couple, who were together “24/7 this past summer on a five-week trip to Israel, now only see each other once or twice a week.

“I don’t get to see him as often as other people see their boyfriends or girlfriends. He lives really far away, Robinson said. “My parents don’t like driving because it’s so inconvenient, so I usually end up taking the train.

The commute for Robinson is time-consuming. “On a good day it’s a 45 minute ride, but most of the time it’s a hour, Robinson said.

To make time to visit Zach, Robinson must manage her time carefully. “I usually do all of my work on Sunday morning so I have my Saturdays open, she said.

Similarly, South senior Paul Belenky has to make a long commute to visit his girlfriend of eight months, Kim, who attends Assumption College in Worcester.

“The commute is hard and I only get to see her once a week or every two weeks. If I drive to her dorm it’s a 50-minute trip, but if I visit her at her house in Tewksbury, it’s a 35-minute ride, Belenky said.

Belenky admits that sometimes he wishes he and his girlfriend went to the same school.

“Not having a class together is a drawback, he said. “It would be better than sitting in a class alone.

Ellie Crowley, a junior at South, recognizes that she and her boyfriend Jon, a freshman at Northeastern University, are not able to share the same kind of time together as couples who attend the same school.

“We don’t get to have those little conversations in the hallways, and I don’t get to have as good of an understanding of his day as I would if we were at the same school, Crowley said. “It’s not as casual.

Despite the infrequent visits and long commutes, Crowley admits that having an inter-school relationship does have benefits of its own. One of which is having a broader amount of topics to discuss.

“I think there’s more to talk about, she said. “If we both went to South it would be all about these certain teachers and these certain people¦The separation does encourage a lot of conversation.

Crowley also thinks that because she does not see her boyfriend on a regular basis, the time they spend together seems all the more significant to them.

“It’s more special when you see them because you don’t have so much time together, she said. “You never get bored of them because you don’t always get to see them.

Belenky agrees. “Not seeing her all the time can be a good thing because it makes me really want to see her. It also gives me some freedom to be gross and boyish, he said. “I don’t have to dress nice everyday.

Robinson believes that inter-school relationships have other benefits as well.

“There’s no drama. At school everyone just knows what you’re doing and because not a lot of people here know him, we just don’t have that problem, Robinson said. “It’s hard, but it’s really worth it.

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