Matt is a recent arrival from the mountains adjusting to city life. He gets the other students excited about fixing up a local park but ignores getting permits despite Pete Dixon's warning. The city must dismantle all the hard work.
When a politician's actions anger the students they decide to get involved by running their own candidate, Gary Winters. Pete Dixon and Alice Johnson advise but the teens learn the details of a campaign with unexpected results.
Tony is a recently arrived migrant from Mexico and has trouble fitting in at Walt Whitman. He needs help on several levels and doesn't realize Liz McIntyre plus the rest of the staff is there, ready to help.
Tracy Rice is a student in Miss Johnson's creative writing class and Alice asks her author father Jim for advice. The two develop an interest in each other making Tracy jealous and she spreads a nasty rumor that threatens the teacher's job.
Budget cutbacks see the removal of typewriters, uniforms and even a refrigerator at Whitman. Liz McIntyre is trying to help math genius Toby get into Stanford but he decides to hack the computer to get back the school supplies.
Alice encourages Woody in writing poetry over the objections of his businessman dad because there's no money in it. Alice connects Woody with musician Melinda and they sell a song but that doesn't make Woody or his father happy.
Chuck is an overachiever at Whitman and looking forward to a receiving a scholarship Mr. Kaufman hands out. But he handles the stress by drinking excessively and Pete Dixon tries to help him see that's a losing situation.
Amy broke up with her jock boyfriend Les and turns her attention to Jason who responds by drawing portraits of her. Miss Johnson hopes he will enter an art competition and continue his education but Jason is thinking about marriage.
Jason, Bernie and other classmates are getting a car ready for a competition between high schools. Transfer students Henry and Marvin want to enter a different vehicle so Pete Dixon intervenes leading to an unusual race.
Cathy wants to be a doctor but needs a ROTC scholarship to go to college. Both the commander and her father object leading Liz to argue for women's rights. Cathy responds to family pressure by running away with boyfriend Cliff.
Principal Kaufman's nephew Mickey begins attending Whitman telling everyone who his uncle is against advice. Mickey aspires to be a comedian but tells terrible jokes. Even so he's chosen to MC a talent show but then gets stage fright.
Elmo Thomas looks to have a promising future as a baseball player but starts ignoring his friends and studies. Mr. Dixon tries to advise him while Jason seeks guidance from Miss McIntyre about his future. A knee injury threatens Elmo's career.