Making the Grades
Back by popular demand, the pupils of East High make an encore performance in the Disney Channel Original Movie, High School Musical 2. Assembling the same cast members, this perky sequel picks up the storyline just as summer holidays begin.
Although the teens are looking forward to a break from their studies, each is aware their parents are expecting them to use their vacation time earning some cold hard cash towards their future college and university educations. Anticipating a season of all work and no partying, their worst fears about being too busy to see one another suddenly vanish with an unexpected opportunity from a local country club. After the manager of Lava Springs (Mark L. Taylor) offers Troy (Zac Efron) a job, the basketball star recommends his fellow students and asks if they can fill up any other available positions. By the end of the phone call, all his school chums have employment and the promise of hanging out together while collecting a paycheck.
The only person unhappy with the arrangement is Sharpay Evans (Ashley Tisdale). She and her brother Ryan (Lucas Grabeel) are permanent summer guests of the luxurious establishment, which hosts an annual talent show. As it turns out, the manipulative blonde used her wealthy parents' (Robert Curtis Brown and Jessica Tuck) clout to get Troy hired, with the hope that during some time alone together she'd be able to persuade the singing athlete to be her new song and dance partner. (She's also neglected to tell Ryan she is planning to replace him). But she wasn't counting on having the entire student body around to run interference with her plans and compete against for the trophy.
Determined to steal the show, Sharpay uses her financial and social influence to secure the young man's loyalty. Her preferential treatment, including promotions, club benefits (denied the other staff members) and scholarship possibilities, soon has Troy's friends feeling second rate and betrayed. It even threatens his romance with Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens).
Just like its predecessor, High School Musical 2 is full of well-choreographed routines, big production numbers and catchy tunes. In between, the characters wrestle with knowing if it is best to make sacrifices for the team or pursue their own goals, when they should assume responsibility or enjoy carefree pastimes, and how to sort out priorities. And they manage to do it all without swearing, wearing immodest clothing or coming to blows. With only the mildest depictions of selfishness and disrespect for rules, the Wildcats of East High manage once again to provide positive role models while tackling the troubles associated with coming-of-age.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about High School Musical 2.
Sharpay and Ryan Evans are guests at the country club, while the rest of their classmates are employees. How does this distinction create a feeling of inequality between the two groups? Why does the problem get worse when Troy is invited to join the Evans family?
Troy’s loyalties are torn between new possibilities and old friends. What does his father mean when he tells his son, “You won’t be a Wildcat forever?” What does Gabriella mean when she suggests, “If you act like someone you’re not, pretty soon that’s who you become?” How do you know when to act as a team player or when to pursue your individual potential?