The movie begins with Troy and Gabriella dating still and looking forward to spending the summer together, as it is the first time that Gabriella has been able to stay in one place for a whole summer What Time Is It? Troy and Gabriella meet up at Gabriella's locker and Troy gives Gabriella a 'T' (which stands for Troy) necklace.Troy and Gabriella then almost kiss, but are interrupted by a student who wants Troy to sign his yearbook.At school, Troy and Gabriella discover that the callback dates have been changed by Sharpay and Ryan to overlap with both the basketball game and the scholastic decathlon, meaning that they would have to chose which event to attend -- sing together or compete with their respective teams.After setting off odorous chemicals and messing with the lighting in the gym, Troy and Gabriella find a way to do all three events.They sneak into the auditions later and are surprised to see each other there.They remain together in hiding while Ryan and Sharpay, the school's brother-and-sister team of drama royalty, audition.This causes all the students in the cafeteria to start sing Stick to the Status Quo.Troy leaves a note in Gabriella's locker, so she will meet up with him on the rooftop.
It is clear that Gabriella is petrified, but after Troy begins singing, she appears to change her mind and decides to sing Start of Something New with him.When Sharpay discovers that Troy, a jock (who's her crush), and Gabriella, a nerd, have a shot at being leads in the school play, she is enraged, and attempts to rally the student body around the idea that no one should do anything outside the realm of his or her clique.After the rest of the school find out about Troy and Gabriella auditioning, people start admitting secret hobbies and breaking the status quo.They both consider the New Year's tradition of kissing someone as the clock strikes twelve, but Gabriella is shy and hurriedly makes an excuse to leave.
Nevertheless, the pair exchange phone numbers before going their separate ways. Upon moving to New Mexico after winter vacation ends, Gabriella is surprised to find that the school she has just transferred to, East High School, is the same school Troy attends.Gabriella is called into the science room to watch a video of an unknowningly filmed Troy lying to his friends about how the callbacks aren't important to him.