By: Amsey Liebenow
Art by Michelle Jun
As school begins, students are reminded of the academic stress, extracurricular intensity, and the joyful experience of being reunited with their peers. However, this year, changes to the handbook, schedule confusion and the process of getting back to “normal” accompany the usual hustle and bustle of the school year.
Unlike the 2020-2021 school year, students are no longer allowed to carry backpacks or phones during the school day. As for the schedule change, O periods (Wednesdays and Fridays) and early dismissal (Wednesday at 2:30) are now fixed, while the rest of the schedule remains on a rotating cycle.
Many students are frustrated with the new schedule; however, some students also enjoy the early dismissal on Wednesdays.
Lily Karnes (10) said, “I hate it. It’s just confusing. I would much rather just get out at a regular time on a Wednesday.”
Lily Kate Heard (10) said, “I know a lot of my friends don’t like the early dismissal because they can’t drive, but it is a really nice break for me, personally.”
Head of Upper School Lauren Rogers said, “We have learned so much about COVID over the last few months. Last year, we were doing our best to make adjustments to school during a pandemic. But, because we now know that masking is the best medicine, this year we [have] been able to return to some of our more ‘normal’ traditions, rules and practices to build the sense of community we had pre-COVID.”
When asked about the reinstatement of rules, Rogers said, “Each rule has its place in the handbook for a reason. The ‘no backpack rule’ is to prevent tripping hazards and build a better sense of community in our public spaces. The no phone rule is to keep the community active and present in all classes, meetings and extracurricular activities between 7:50-3:15. And, the schedule change is simply because students really enjoyed having the break in the 2020-2021 school year.”
In response to the rules, Karnes has started her own movement in an attempt to change the rules.
“When I was applying to St. Mary’s, there was a huge emphasis on the fact that this school empowered women and empowered their students. I fully intend to be empowered in my right to at least demand that our opinions be fully heard out. I’ve had one meeting, and I plan on having a few more, either until my points can be proven wrong, or we reach a compromise,” said Karnes.
Her efforts have not gone unsupported. Karnes has spoken with almost all of the sophomore class, a strong number of seniors and juniors, and is working with the freshman as well.
“It’s frustrating, as a student, to not feel heard. Especially when I’m the one living every day with the results of the rule,” said Karnes.
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