We graded them from A to E. It would have taken school without teachers essay deliberate lie to say otherwise. My stock gradually rose during high school. So I’ve seen a good part of the popularity landscape.
The key to this mystery is to rephrase the question slightly. In the schools I went to, being smart just didn’t matter much. I wanted to be popular. But in fact I didn’t, not enough.
I wouldn’t have taken it. To them the thought of average intelligence is unbearable. But most kids would take that deal. And that, I think, is the root of the problem.