South Lake High newspaper students adjust to late start times

Transcripts from our interviews with members of the school's news staff

https://www.solake.org/apps/bell_schedules/index.jsp?rn=8731&id=12864

Madalyn Dishman, Editor-in-Chief

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Interview with Mary Dupuis, The Lancer Editor-in-Chief

What is your name?
My name is Mary Dupuis.

What grade are you currently in?
I’m currently a senior.

When did your school begin starting later?
South Lake began starting later my junior year, so we now start school at 8:35am and get out at 3:35pm.

If you were in school before and after this transition, how did the majority of your students feel about it before it happened? How does the majority feel now that the changes have been put in place?
Before it happened a lot of students were very excited for it. They were all really looking forward to being able to sleep in later and having more time to get ready or do some extra homework before school. Initially, it really seemed like it would be super beneficial for getting more sleep. Now that the changes have been put into place a ton of kids I know including myself don’t really like it at all. Since we get out so much later in the afternoon all after school activities and practices are pushed back, so a lot of kids don’t even get home until 7 at night. Yes, we start later so kids can potentially sleep longer; but that doesn’t help me much seeing that I’m always up really late doing homework anyways after practices and such. It’s also kind of hard to make plans with people from surrounding schools because they get out significantly earlier than we do so it’s difficult for our schedules to align. It’s just more of a hassle than anything.

I used to go to bed around 10:30pm or 11:00pm, but since the transition took place and because I’ve been getting much more homework my junior and senior year I’ve been getting to bed between 11:00pm and midnight every night.

Because you get out later than other schools, do your athletes face additional challenges on game days? If yes, can you describe them?
I am the captain of the Varsity soccer team at our school and can say that our athletes do face some additional challenges on game days. While other schools may be able to warm up before home games for an hour and a half or so our team only has about a half hour once everyone gets to the field to truly warm up and prepare before the other teams get there. It can be very stressful going to away games especially because we get out so much later. By the time our teams get to the field we have a solid half hour to warm up while the other team has been there and been waiting for an hour or more. It messes up the preparatory phase before games, which is one of the most important times on game day. It rushes everyone through stretching and drills and it can be hard to get into the right mindset sometimes because you’re still stuck on school mode and rushing around.
I am involved in student council, the Secretary of NHS, the Captain of the Varsity soccer team, and am a lead role in our upcoming musical. My challenges are the same as the ones listed above–not having as much time to warm up and practice and rehearsal times overlapping constantly. I think our school has tried to schedule later games so it’s not as much of a conflict for the teams, but it always winds up being one anyways.

Same as above, but for clubs/groups that compete, such as band, quiz bowl, debate, etc.
I’m not involved in any of these groups, so I can’t give a solid opinion on them. But, I do have friends in band who are constantly at the school during marching band season in the fall and never get home at a decent time on practice nights. Their competitions are typically on Saturdays though so as for actual competing our school schedule obviously doesn’t affect them that much.

Have students found it difficult to obtain employment because they get out of school later/can’t work as early as students in surrounding districts? If yes, can you describe them? Do you have the contact information for any of these students?
I have not had a problem because I lifeguard and teach swim lessons which all start later at night. The only conflict I have with this is my practices running into the time where I would have to be at work, so I end up having to leave earlier some days and rush to work. I never end up eating dinner or even getting home until 9pm some nights. I do have some friends that have had issues with their after school activities and work clashing. Many can’t come to practices due to work right after school, because lots of workplaces start at 4pm. I even have some friends that leave seventh hour early in order to make it to work on time. It just creates an all around headache for teams trying to get practices together, drama club or band holding rehearsals, and students constantly rushing back and forth from places. My friend Madison, who always has to leave seventh hour early is always in a rush.

Were there any problems for families that wanted a high school student to go home and babysit younger siblings?
I do know one person who would always have to rush home after school to watch his younger sister. His mom even got upset with him one time because he wasn’t home fast enough because he had to stop and talk with a teacher. But, since we get out so much later it made a big difference as to when he got home.
My sibling is in high school with me, so I don’t have this problem.

What have been both the positive and negative aspects of the change?
I would say that while there are some positive aspects, the negative outweigh them. On the positive side of things, it is nice to have a bit more of a lax schedule in the morning. Even on days when I accidentally oversleep I still wake up with enough time to get to school. So even when I’m late, I’m not really late. It leaves a good window of time open in the morning to go to school early and get extra help from teachers or study before a test you may have in the morning. Before I got my license my mom drove me to school every morning but her work started at 8am, so I would get to school around 7:30 every day and have an hour to get settled in and do whatever. It is nice starting a bit later. But, not nice enough that I like it very much. On the negative side of things, it just pushes everything back way too far. The other day I had a very long rehearsal for drama club and didn’t even get home until 10pm, and during soccer season I won’t get home until around 6pm and have to rush around to work or do homework late into the night. It just causes too many conflicts with overlapping schedules. It’s not really worth it.

Are the majority of students at your school taking advantage of the extra time to sleep, or are they staying up later?
I don’t know of a single student that actually attempts to go to bed earlier and get more sleep at night due to the later start. It’s a great idea, but in reality it just doesn’t work out that way. It can be seen as a bit of a cushion for when you do go to bed later because you know that you can sleep in later. But overall it just hasn’t changed anyone’s sleeping habits, mine included. Everyone is always up late regardless.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Nope I think I covered it all, feel free to contact us again if you need anymore information. This was fun for me, so thank you, I’ve never been interviewed before; I’m always doing the interviewing.

Interview with Layla McMurtrie, The Lancer Section Editor

Hello, my name is Layla McMurtrie and I am a senior at South Lake High School and the Section Editor of our school’s magazine, The Lancer.

South Lake began starting later, at 8:35, in 2016, at the beginning of my sophomore year. While I do like being able to sleep in a little longer and get food at places that aren’t open until 8, there are also many disadvantages.

For students who work, there is very little time after school to get ready and take a break before clocking in. I would rather start earlier and have more time after school before the end of the day, whether I’m working that day or not. I also work at the bank
at my school during my last hour, so I don’t leave school until 4, which is the time some people start work. At my old job, I started at 4, so I wouldn’t have been able to continue working there. Still, this makes it stressful on days I work at my other job
and have to go home, get ready, and drink coffee, then try to be there by 5.

Also, the students who play sports are on a different schedule than most other schools, so there are often scheduling problems. If an away game is scheduled at an earlier time, students usually have to miss their last hour of the day and can often get behind on schoolwork. Although this isn’t usually a problem for me during my tennis season because I know how to manage my time, many students don’t.

I do have one sibling that gets home before me, but she is old enough to walk home and watch herself for an hour before my mom or myself gets home.

I think starting school later could be good because of studies that teenagers brains don’t work fully until 10 am, but changing the time just 30 minutes and forcing students to be released later doesn’t help much at all.

I go to bed around 11 pm and I think I still get up at 7am, the same time as I did when school started at 8, but I probably just take my time to get ready. If schools were able to start at 10 and still be able to get out at 3, it would be a good idea, but since
they can’t, things should just stay the same.

Although I think starting later is good in theory, it causes a lot of problems at the same time that doesn’t really make it worth it.

Interview with Isabel Aubin, The Lancer Copy Editor

What is your name?
Isabel Aubin – Copy Editor

What grade are you currently in?
Senior

If you were in school before and after this transition, how did you feel about it before it happened? How do you feel now that the changes have been put in place?
When I first heard that we were going to have late starts I was a sophomore and was actually very upset because at the time is was very overwhelmed in school and in my extracurricular activities. I was stressed about how late I would be getting home from school to do homework. Now that our start times have changed and it has been two years, I have realized that it is not as big of a deal that my sophomore self thought it was going to be.

If you were in school during the transition, what time did you go to bed before the change? What time do you go to bed now?
During junior year when late starts were implemented, I had a zero hour where I would come to school an hour early for class and in turn could leave an hour early because I still had a full schedule. This meant that I was not actually able to sleep in and was actually up earlier than I had been in previous years with the addition of having extracurriculars that started later. Also adding homework and my work schedule I was only sleeping five or six hours where the year before I slept six or seven.
This year, I have a normal schedule and can regularly get eight hours of sleep since the amount of homework I have has drastically decreased since last year. Since I have less time after school to relax between my extracurriculars and work schedule I have just figured out the best way to organize my school work to where I really am not doing more than 40 minutes of homework outside the school day.

Are you involved in any activities/groups/clubs/sports that meet after school? If yes, what are you involved in?
Swim Team, Fall and Spring Drama Productions (Drama is a club not a class at our school) and Tennis

If yes, have you faced any additional challenges, especially during games/competitions against schools that get out earlier than yours? If yes, can you describe them?
During the Sports seasons is is definitely hard to start practice later and still be expected to be there for 2-2.5 hours until 6 or even 7. Since we do start at 8:35 most sports teams actually end up missing a portion of their last class because our teams are expected to be at a school by 4 for games. I don’t really experience this very often unless we are traveling very far, but even if your aren’t leaving school early students on the teams are generally climbing onto the bus right after school without anytime in between school and games.

If you haven’t faced any challenges, why do you think that is/how has your school made sure that it isn’t a problem for students?  N/A

Have you personally found it difficult to obtain employment because your school gets out later and you can’t work as early as students in surrounding districts? If yes, can you describe them?
I have not personally found it hard to find and maintain my job, but when I do work I start at 6 and generally only work a few hours because I am often teaching swim lessons or lifeguarding. I do however have to leave my extracurriculars early if the times overlap to make sure I can get to work on time and also need to make sure I plan ahead because some days I leave my house at 8:15 and don’t get home until 9:30. That usually means I have to pack lots of extra food and make sure I have all the things I need for the whole day.

Do you have any siblings in elementary school? If yes and your parents work/no one is home, how has your family made sure your siblings are safe/with someone after school? N/A

What do you think are the positive aspects of going to school later?
It is very nice being able to sleep to a reasonable time and not wake up before it is even light out. I don’t feel as exhausted like I have in years past, because I have been able to get more sleep and I understand that if I don’t go to bed by a certain time my body will not be able to function for my whole day.

What do you think are the negative aspects of going to school later?
It is hard getting out of school much later than others. I feel like by the time I finally can be productive if I do go straight home it is already late and I would rather just relax.

What time do you go to bed? Do you feel as if you are taking advantage of the extra time to sleep, or are you staying up later?
I generally try to be in bed by 9:30 and usually until 11 I watch Netflix or read. That period of time is for me to relax and de-stress. Because I don’t usually have to stay up super late doing homework unless I have been really bad about doing my work at school I usually get a little less than 9 hours. For me sleep is a priority, because if I can’t take that time for myself at night I have learned after 3 years of depriving myself of sleep I will start getting really stressed and anxious because my brain doesn’t have time to handle everything that happened in a day.

What are your personal feelings about the fact that your school starts later and gets out later than most?
It is annoying at some times, especially when it is closer to summer and I start working at the city pool where the shifts start at 4 and I have to rush out and sometimes leave early, but I don’t think it has really affected me negatively. Like most things it was out of my control and just did my best to adjust and work around it it.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
With anything, changing the start time has definitely been something to adjust too, but in the end everything tends to work itself out. Going with the flow is the best thing to do and instead of worrying about all of the issues that might arise it is much better to move forward and think of the best ways to solve those problems then dwelling on them.

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