by THOMAS PUGH and ANNA FISCHER - Students share how they get to school and what they do in the morning.
WESTFIELD, Ind. (Aug. 2019) - It’s the start of the week. Students roll out of bed and drag themselves to school, going through the same old routine morning motions. Grab food. Get dressed. Leave the house. Get to school. But it’s a new year, and the school has drastically changed. School starts thirty minutes later. The parking has been rearranged. Buses have a new drop-off location. That should be a good thing, right? Westfield students shed some light on the subject. For Ashlynne Kilgore (10), it’s a mixed experience.
“I think the time is fine,” Kilgore said. “I feel like we should have more areas where we can get out instead of one little small area. At least make it so that the buses go out a different area than the cars. Also, this is minor, but the potholes suck. I cannot with those potholes. Just go away, we don’t need you.”
While Kilgore has troubles with potholes and parking in general, for other students, parking is not a problem; it’s the trip to the school that can be awkward.
“The most difficult part of getting driven to school is not getting to leave on my own time,” Elly Grenda (11) said. “It’s my neighbor that drives me, so I have to go over to his house at the time that I have to, so if I’m running late, then I can’t. The best part of riding with somebody else to school is that I don’t have to pay for a parking pass.”
Those with a driver’s license take themselves and occasionally their friends to school, giving them more freedom in the morning. Mahamat Djour (12) mixes it up on occasion before school.
“It usually depends on the kind of day if I go somewhere before school,” Djour said. “I usually hit up Walmart a lot because I need to grab random stuff.”
Even with the extra time, Djour believes that the school should balance the new schedule with new policies, such as an earlier entry time.
“I think we should be allowed into the school a lot earlier than just 20 minutes before because when I get there early, I don’t want to sit outside all that time,” Djour said. “When it gets colder, I don’t want to be outside for longer, so I don't want to just sit in my car and just wait for school or just talk to my friends.”
Even with the 20 minutes, students use their time before school between friends, activities and even extra class help.
“Usually I go talk to Mr. Sterling and go work on my photography stuff,” Ella Wettschurack (10) said. “I like to sleep in as much as I can, so I don't really have time to go out to eat before school.”
Kilgore has a similar routine of meeting with people before school begins.
“I like talking to people in tech crew,” Kilgore said. “They’re my people, and they’re super fun. I also get to classes really early. Sometimes I get there before the teacher, and I usually just unpack and check my phone for texts.”
Even with the benefits, though, students still have qualms about many of the ripple effects of the time change.
“I wasn’t a big fan of the schedule change because I like getting out earlier as then I have more of my day,” Grenda said.
Some students, on the other hand, have significantly stronger feelings about the new start times.
“I hate the new start times,” Wettschurack said. “It throws me off. I am someone who does not react to change very well, and I like routine, so I feel like I just got used to it last year and all the times are different this year, and it’s just weird. I also play tennis too, but that’s in the spring, so I feel like I’m going to get home super late and have homework.”
Other students are not bothered by the start times and are adjusting to it as it comes along. Some, like Djour, enjoy the new construction and work done on the parking lot, and look forward to further improvements.
“It’s not been hectic now because I get there ridiculously early just to talk to my friends, but I don’t see an issue right now,” Djour said. “Last year, when there was only one way you could leave and enter, it was crazy, but now it’s a lot easier since there’s multiple ways. They’ve done a great job, and I can’t wait for the new area to open up where parent drop-off would be by door one, so it would be a lot easier for parents to drop off over there and make it easier for students.”
The start of the day is a mixed bag. The schedule and parking change has been fantastic for some and terrible for others, but many times students see both sides of the story. In any case, the school is under a significant amount of change, and students at Westfield prove both stubborn and adaptable. The most important thing to almost every student, however, has widely been noted: sleep.
“I just go straight to school,” Kilgore said. “I can’t wake up any earlier. I can’t lose any more sleep.”