Undercover High follows seven young adults, ranging in age from 21 to 26, who embed themselves for a semester in Topeka, Kansas’ Highland Park High School. The participants pose as typical students–attending classes, making friends and participating in school clubs and activities–to provide an inside look at what it’s like to be a teenager today. Each with personal motivations driving them to help enact positive change, the participants, unaware of each other, arrive on campus where only the school administrators and select members of the community know their true identities and the reason for their semester-long stay. From bullying and the pervasiveness of social media to the struggle to excel in the classroom and navigate evolving social standards, participants discover the challenges and complexities, both new and familiar, facing today’s teens.
Digging into their past, participants bring to the program a variety of cultures and experiences. The young adults include a former bully, victims of bullying, a teen mom, a youth motivational speaker, a set of siblings and a teen minister. Following thorough background checks, extensive training and ongoing meetings with psychologists and school counselors, these participants called Highland Park High School their new home for the Spring 2017 semester, befriending students and striving to implement positive changes to their lives and the school community.