The Soaring Highs and Swooping Lows of Height


Sydney Hancock

GROWTH SPURTS AND STUNTS. The huge population of Issaquah High School displays the expansive diversity in height within its’ numbers. This allows for a fluid meaning to the school’s definition of average, welcoming everybody big or small.

Adam Hansen, Copy Editor

Is there something in the water at Issaquah High School? From 6’6 sophomores to 4’11 seniors, the diversity of height that exists here is undeniable in every grade level. In the rush of stress that characterizes high school, the actual physical vertical differences between the buzzing students here at IHS seems to almost disappear, at least for those who can actually see above the crowd. Out of the approximately 2,300 students filling the halls, one can find themselves privy to the extremes of both sides of the height spectrum.

However, by no means does this give a sense of value to either side, as both have their advantages and disadvantages, whether visible or not. According to previously mentioned 4’11 senior Natalie Fortes, “Being short really gives me in edge in sports like cheer, where I am the flier, so it definitely makes it a lot more fun to be the one being thrown.” Fortes does admit, “I literally cannot see anything in the halls, just backpacks and the faces of other short people.” Flying high but walking low is something she is not self-conscious about though, saying, “I was always pretty short, so I got used to it early and made the best out of it, and I don’t  think of it as a flaw.”

To make a radical jump to the other perspective, previously mentioned 6’6 sophomore Karl Yount stands head, shoulders, and rib cage above most others in his grade. He does not mind standing out though, saying that “conversations are really easy to start, because people always want to ask questions about being really tall.” Unsurprisingly coming from a  6 ‘5” dad and a 5’9” mom, Yount is not quite yet done growing, but would not mind avoiding the custom doorframes that accompany those of the true extremes. According to Yount, “People sometimes have a hard time understanding what ‘too tall’ can mean, especially when you are already really tall.” While labeled a big friendly giant by those around him, Yount wants people to know that “it is not the only thing interesting about me. My whole personality is not just a big tall guy.”

Again, variety does exist, and just because someone may not be in an average person’s line of sight does not mean they are less of a person. According to 4 ‘11.5” freshmen Abby Kroopkin, “I really would not mind being taller, but I do not care that much, and it is not like I am placing a value on someone because of how much taller they are than me or if we are similar in size.” She does give some credit to the opposite sex, saying that “I think it would be a lot harder if I was a guy and was my height, but because I’m a girl, people just kind of look past it.”

Although heels and slouching may be temporary alterations, the body grows as it was genetically destined, right? Looking to 5’10” junior Tessa Pardon, this may not always be the case. Pardon says, “My mom and dad are both pretty short, and so I kind of came out of nowhere when I just never stopped at the typical mark for the rest of my family.” She has no problem with the extra inches, saying that “it makes my sport, volleyball, a lot easier than if I was shorter, and so I’m not going to complain.” Pardon does admit that “I feel like I should not like wearing heels as much as I do, but it should not really matter that people are annoyed I guess.”

However, is being too tall or too short as big of a deal as people are making it out to be? Recently, Netflix released a teen targeted movie called “Tall Girl,” which received pretty mixed feedback. It details the story of a 6’1” girl, who is a junior in high school, and the problems she faces when she finds herself with a crush. I asked a family member of mine, Miranda Hansen, who peaked at the same impressive height of 6’1”, ironically in her junior year of high school, her opinions on the film.Hansen says, “I’m happy that there is some representation of people my height, and I do like the idea, but I feel like the makers really blew the issue out of proportion, especially in an environment like high school.” It is nice to know that even in 2013, Hansen’s graduating year, that this was not a source of bullying as the movie made it out to be. The fact that we have progressed past something like this does shine some light on the true ending of bullying in the future, even if it does make a Netflix feature seem a little outdated.

At the end of the day, no matter how far into a pool one can go and still have their head sticking out and feet on the ground, we all are proud mixing pots of genetics. While physical growth is still in the future for many, the definition of growth expands beyond a number of inches the doctor tells you, and is a possibility throughout all of our lives.