Nick is a committed leftist and convinces Mr. Dixon to sponsor a Marx/Lenin club. Nick invites a confrontational speaker without authorization, upsetting board member Mr. Franklin and sparking a campus controversy
Students Gary and Joyce learn they are expecting a baby, upsetting Mr. Webster who planned a West Point career for his son. Joyce is 18, a legal adult, so she can make her choice without the father's input which upsets Gary.
Henry arrives at Whitman from juvenile detention system. Told he has a fresh start he decides to act out, bragging about his incarceration and challenging teachers. Then Miss Johnson sees him with a gun and things turn dangerous.
Arthur is a smart young man but doesn't believe in competition so does just enough to get by. This frustrates Mr. Dixon so he's surprised when Arthur tries for a scholarship, wins, then turns it down to prove a point.
Alice and the rest of faculty plan a special party to celebrate Mr. Kaufman's fifteen years as principal at Whitman High. Wayne with a grudge against the administrator decides to ruin the surprise for him.
Jackie O'Farrell was a child star on TV which made him rich but it doesn't help him fit in at Whitman High. Jason and Bernie scheme to get Jackie to promote a concert but Jackie agrees only if they cut their hair.
Criminal behavior is happening on school grounds so the students come up with their own policing plan. Headed by Richard the pass system soon falls apart due to rules enforcement and Miss Johnson's new car is vandalized.
Attractive Donna seems to find success easy with a screen test and fame before she graduates. Mr. Dragen finds himself envious as he has worked on a book for years and only gets rejection letters. Both learn from the other's experience.
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.