Seniors Deserve Exclusive Privileges In School

Alyssa Blair, Editor-In-Chief

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Senior year. Students in their final year of high school are looking ahead to the rest of their lives and facing a lot of new things all at once. So much is changing in their lives, and yet, they must come to school everyday and attend the same classes, walk the same halls, and go through the same motions as all of the other students who are at a very different point in their lives. Many seniors have worked hard for their entire school careers to make it to that final year of 12th grade. It’s not an easy road to make it that far, despite how many people do it. As long as they are working hard and proving it with their GPA and number of credits earned, why shouldn’t seniors get certain privileges that aren’t available to other students in the lower grades?

Right now, there are very few senior privileges available at WSHS. Besides the ability to sit outside for lunch, which lowerclassmen often get in on, and the ability to apply for early release, no other privileges exist. While faculty have never explicitly said they are against adding some senior privileges, they also have made no effort to implement them.

When surveyed a few weeks ago one of the most popular requests was to eat lunch off campus. Having the responsibility of leaving campus and having to make it back before the end of lunch break teaches an important skill. It’s a good lesson to learn regardless of where students go after graduation. Most jobs allow you to do as you please during your lunch break. If high school is supposed to prepare us for whatever comes next, this seems like a logical step to take. Besides the responsibility, it teaches students about time management. Sometimes leaving campus for a much needed break or a pick-me-up lunch of fast food can greatly improve a student’s overall mood and day, and improve their performance. Seniors in the past had access to a privilege like this, where they could sign out at the office and leave campus for lunch. “It was in place when I came back in the late 90s,” said Mr. Bernard, a science teacher and an alumni of WSHS. It ended around the turn of the century, which Bernard says is just as well, because “a hundred newly licensed drivers speeding out of here and tearing down to Mickey Dee’s, then ripping back to be back in school before the 20-something-minute lunch period ended, was not really safe.” It may not be the safest alternative, but lunches are longer than 20 minutes nowadays. If given the option, students and administration could collaborate to find a safe system of leaving campus for lunch.

While a privilege like eating off campus would be exclusive to seniors, it’s also an important reminder that not all senior privileges have to be a luxury. Some of them just make sense considering all that they have on their plate. What sets senior year apart from the previous three in high school is the fact that two months into the year, students must start preparing their college applications. A lot of time and work must go into filling out informational paperwork, writing and revising essays, and requesting recommendations letters. Students, also, must balance all of this with their daily homework load, which does not change or lessen simply because college is coming. A study hall could be a senior privilege. One period a day to themselves to handle college applications or simply work on homework, which is no doubt just as rigorous. To ensure students won’t abuse this period, and actually use their time wisely, set up some sort of standard that a student must have access to in order to attend a study hall. A study hall period, especially in senior year, could alleviate a large amount of stress for students.

As seniors, students are expected to be responsible and act as role models to their peers. They are expected to deal with a lot of fast-paced changes coming their way in a matter of months. To help reduce some of the stress and overwhelming feelings of it all, instituting upperclassmen privileges can help seniors deal with all of this. Privileges aren’t solely to serve a fun purpose, but they can be a useful tool for helping students along into the next phase of their lives by teaching them responsibility and giving them a place to prioritize and figure things out.