“I feel so left out sometimes.”

Students who live out of district struggle with long commutes, friendships

For most students, going to school is as simple as waking up and driving 10 minutes to the nearest school. 

However, for some students, the issue is more complex.

Several students attend Chapman but live in other districts. Although some pay tuition, most of these students attend because they have a parent who works in the district.

Junior Blane Fowler lived in District One through sixth grade before moving to District Two. Because his mother continued to work in the district, he continued to attend District One schools despite the increased commute. 

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Fowler, who lives less than five minutes from Boiling Springs High School and nearly 30 from Chapman, said the decision to remain in District One was partially based on academics.

“My mom felt like I would get a much better education in District One,” Fowler said.

It was also based on his social circle. 

Because he had grown up in District One, he had made close friends that he didn’t want to leave. 

Moving out of the district hasn’t broken those relationships, but Fowler said it has strained them.

“The worst part is the friendships,” he said. “I feel so left out sometimes.” 

Sophomore Matthew Steading is in a similar situation. He started school in District Six but moved to District One when his mother took a job in the district. He chose to follow her. 

“I’ve gained friends, and it’s been fun,” Steading said.

Fun but not necessarily easy. 

Steading does not have his driver’s license, and he depends on family and friends to give him rides. He said he also feels left out when in-district friends can get together, and he cannot. 

“(It’s) especially (difficult) when it’s something that’s really far, and I’m not able to get a ride,” he said. 

He hopes that getting a license will change his situation. 

“I would be willing to make a long ride for my friends,” he said. 

That sounds like a simple solution, but Fowler’s situation illustrates that it’s not so simple. 

Fowler, a member of cross country and track as well as Mayor’s Youth Council and student council, said that part of the challenge is not just the distance but the time and the gas money it takes to travel that distance. 

“It is horrible because I’m a teenager without a job who does multiple different things,” Fowler said.

Sophomore Caden Jackson understands the difficulty of time. Jackson has a license. He lives in Greer but attends Chapman because of his mother. 

He is on the track team and holds a job in addition to his commute. 

“It’s a challenge to try to make plans to see people outside of school,” he said. 

Fowler’s move has him questioning what to tell people when he is asked where he resides. Being an involved student means all of his community service is located in Inman, even though he lives in Boiling Springs. 

“My identity is skewed,” Fowler said.

Fowler and Steading said they do see the value in living out of the district. Both live in areas with more dining, entertainment and shopping options than District One, and both can place some separation between school and home. 

Fowler said that despite everything, he’s glad he’s stayed in the same school district.

“I regret having to move, but I don’t regret staying here,” he said. “District One is awesome.”

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