Nothing confidential in ‘High School’ anymore

Tribune Media Services

Sharon Liese had made corporate films and worked in marketing. With her daughter finishing middle school, she decided to make her first documentary. “I knew the next four years were going to be more than transitional in my life and her life,” she says. “That brought me back to thinking about my high school experience. I could not find too much in terms of documentary. I thought this would be an interesting idea.”

The result is the eight-part series “High School Confidential,” premiering at 10 tonight on WE: Women’s Entertainment, in which a dozen young women reveal their inner lives as they talk with self-awareness about subjects once kept private.

Chronicled from 2002 through 2006, they grapple with what their parents did a generation ago: Should I go to college? Should I have sex? They also wrestle with other issues: Drugs and alcohol are readily available, after-school activities and sports consume much of their lives, and some people have sex as easily as people once changed dance partners.

The teens profiled went to Northwest High School in Overland Park, Kan., and though one lives on a farm, the others are daughters of suburbia and could easily be anywhere.


“When I first went into the project, I didn’t know it would be anything big. I just thought it would be something fun to do,” says one of the young women, Lauren, now 20 and studying psychology at the University of Denver.

“I just hope that at least girls in high school can watch the shows and relate to our stories and from there be inspired by what we have done or learn from what we have done,” she says. “Sometimes you have to make mistakes but learn from it. Adults with daughters can get a different perspective for how girls feel.”

“This is not a reality series,” Liese says. “That’s really important to me. There wasn’t anything scripted. . . . This is all real, real-life high school.”