Step out of the academic safety net


Katherine Lombardi and Evan Kuo

Most high school students have to wait until their final year for the cushy benefits of “senioritis.” But sometimes at CHS, it strikes early. Easily-shifted deadlines may as well be advertised in the info sessions and complaining be included as part of the curriculum.

When multiple classes’ tests overlap on the same day, a chorus of complaints sometimes forces it off until a later date. This doesn’t just throw off schedules and diminish teachers’ authority, but creates a sense of entitlement where students forget that they are supposed to be challenged, not coddled, at a competitive vocational school. Even when a teacher doesn’t budge, they try and find other ways around it.

Some students take inches of accommodation and stretch them a mile, skipping out of school to avoid taking tests. It fosters an environment where clear deadlines become blurred and students try telling the teachers when things are due. Teachers like history teacher Tom Ross try and tackle the issue when it arises, as it did a few years ago when multiple students kept purposely missing tests.

“I started saying I would make the makeup tests a lot harder than the originals,” Ross said.

High school should be an exercise in time management, learning to handle busy schedules and work with what you have. Students should use teachers as a source of guidance, and not just a sounding board for misguided frustration. Instead of coercing teachers to extend deadlines,  respect their decisions and work to adapt. 

“It’s not somebody trying to stress somebody else out, it’s learning to deal with the time management and dealing with that pressure,” said history teacher Sharyn O’Keefe.

In some cases, however, teachers will actively try and avoid scheduling conflicts with tests and projects. Science teacher Leah Morgan said that she understands the academic rigor of CHS, and makes scheduling adjustments if multiple people in her class have the same problem.

“I don’t like the additional pressure on the kids to have to study for two big tests on the same way,” Morgan said. 

Teachers that are openly accommodating to students are a sign of a supportive staff that cares about the success and well-being of students. However, it is up to the students to take that as an occasional opportunity and not a constant crutch.

When a student underperforms or falls victim to a busy schedule, that failure can serve as a learning experience. Students should do anything possible to succeed, but taking it from a silver platter will not take them past graduation. High school doesn’t need to be a trial by fire, and small stumbles are a necessary part of refining your academic success. If teachers intervene by catching you before every fall, then the tumble will hit much harder in the future. When CHS becomes college, malleable deadlines and coddling teachers shift into structured syllabi and professors that might not even know a student’s name. 

“If there’s a valid reason to have to change test dates, that’s one thing, but life is life. When you go to college, they’re not going to move things because the professor has something else there, and by junior year it’s kind of preparing you for that,” O’Keefe said. 

The friendly and accomodating environment of this school is undoubtedly a good thing. It allows students of all educational backgrounds to come together into a common curriculum smoothly, and allows people to thrive academically or extracurricularly. It’s healthy to utilize CHS’s many sources of support as a launching pad for adult life. But the comfort of our small school may help explore interests and grow their abilities, it’s unrealistic to treat the environment as a perfect microcosm for college, let alone the working world. Treat this place as a safe place to grow, but be ready for hardships when they come.