In This Case, Snooze and Don’t Lose: Students Need a Later Start Time

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By Eliza McKissick

In recent years, there has been great debate over the start time of schools. Many are advocating for a later start time in all schools— elementary, middle, and high school. The main argument is that currently, with schools starting at 8:00 am, adolescents are unable to get the proper amount of sleep.

Doctors at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital recommend that kids get between 9 and 9 1/2 hours of sleep. I questioned students at Arlington High School about their sleep habits and only 4.5% of surveyed students receive more than 8 hours of sleep on a typical school night. This statistic is concerning, but ultimately expected. The early start time of schools coupled with biological changes result in teens running on a later sleep-wake cycles.

An experiment conducted by Dr. Mary A. Carskadon of Brown University found that as children go through puberty, their brains begin producing the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin on a delayed schedule, making it difficult for them to feel tired before 11 p.m. In order for teenagers to get the proper amount of sleep, they should be just waking up around 8 a.m. if they went to bed around 11 p.m.; this, however, is impossible when school starts at 8 a.m. (Carskadon et al., 1998). If school were to start even an hour later, teens would be able to get sufficient sleep without the risk of being late to school.

Many adolescents use the weekends to catch up on lost sleep: 73.2% of surveyed AHS students report getting over 8 hours of sleep on the weekends. This compared to the 4.5% that get regularly get that much sleep may seem good, but in fact, this great disparity can be detrimental to teens. When the sleep schedule is so irregular, the quality of sleep is compromised, and ultimately students end up feeling more drowsy than they would if they got the same amount of sleep every night. If school were to start later, teens would be more likely to receive the same amount of sleep on school nights as they would on the weekends, and overall would feel less tired throughout the day.

Not receiving sufficient amounts of sleep has the potential to become a serious problem. Chronic sleep loss among teenagers has been associated with poor school performance and a higher risk for depressive symptoms, obesity, cardiovascular problems, risk-taking behaviors and athletic injuries. Sleep deprivation impairs their ability to be alert, pay attention, solve problems, cope with stress and retain information. Essentially, students would be more productive, more ready to learn, if they were able to get enough sleep.

One argument against pushing back the start time of schools is that by doing so, teens would start their homework later, fall asleep later and then have to wake up even later; therefore a delayed start would do nothing for their sleep schedule. However, many surveyed AHS students admitted that homework isn’t usually what keeps them up at night. Possibly it’s teens’ later sleep-wake cycle that makes it feel unnatural to fall asleep before 11 p.m. It is my position that if school were to start an hour later (9:00 a.m.) and end an hour later (3:30 p.m.), teenagers would complete their homework in plenty of time to go to bed at 11:00 p.m. and receive a full 9- 91/2 hours of sleep.

I believe the issue of adolescents receiving the proper amount of sleep is reason enough to justify a later start time for schools. Yes, obstacles would be likely to arise if Arlington were to shift to a 9:00-3:30 school day; sports practices and other school sponsored events would have to be reorganized, getting students to and from school may be more difficult, and students may slip into the habit of going to bed at midnight, rather than 11:00. However, to me, the biological tendencies of teens sleep schedules coupled with the overwhelming majority of AHS students receiving insufficient amounts of sleep suggest that some action, some reform, needs to be taken. Delaying the start time of Arlington Public Schools may just be that needed step.  

 

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Boys Soccer Defeated in State Finals

 

 

By Ellie Crowley

After completing a strong season by winning the North finals, the Arlington High School boys varsity soccer team was defeated by Nauset in the Division II State Finals. During the game played on November 18th at Marshfield High School, the team lost 3-0 against the champions of the South.

The boys started the game off strong but were quickly met with a challenge when Nauset scored at 16:40 in the first half. In the opening of the second half, senior defender Nick Karalis left the field with a leg injury, and moments later Nauset scored, making it 2-0 at the opening of the second half. Junior Declan Dolan also came off the field injured, forcing coach Lance Yodzio to switch up his normal line. Senior captain Francesco Valagussa said, “Already starting the game without Will [Clifford, who was out with a broken collarbone] was very difficult, but then having Declan and Nick fall to injuries was where the game spiraled out of control.” With 21:40 left in the second half, Nauset scored again and the game ended 3-0 with a Nauset victory. Senior goalie Henry Fox-Jurkowitz reflected on the defeat, saying, “In the end, Nauset got some lucky goals but they were a really good team and were probably the toughest one we faced all season. The outcome of the final game was disappointing but we were definitely happy as a team to have gotten there.”

The team had a successful run, originally entering the Division II North tournament with a 12-3-3 record and seeded fourth, finishing as champions of the North. Reflecting on his experience leading the team, Valagussa said, “Being able to be part of this historic team, let alone lead it, was a wonderful experience. I am not too hurt about the final loss because in the end we were able to make history and it was a better year than I could have ever asked for.”

Fox-Jurkowitz feels similarly, saying, “We didn’t give up on our season and it clearly paid off in the end. I’m proud […] because this team really deserved it.”

Macbeth Comes to AHS

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By Michael Graham-Green

The most recent installment of the Arlington High School Drama Club’s productions is Shakespeare’s cursed Scottish play. Macbeth, for those who have not taken sophomore English yet, is the tragedy of a bloody prophecy corrupting an ambitious nobleman.

When asked why he chose to put on Macbeth this year, the director, Michael Byrne says that this is the first time he’s directed a Shakespeare tragedy at AHS, and he wants students to have the experience. “The brilliance and beauty of Shakespeare is that over the last 400 years the plays have become relevant to whatever is the predominant culture of the time,” he adds. “It’s interesting to explore what is our cultural lens today and what the play is saying to us today. And I think it’s open. [It’s] the universality of Shakespeare’s writing that allows people to see things and hear things.”

The Arlington High School Drama Club’s production of Macbeth is Friday November 16, at 7:30 pm, and Saturday November 17, at 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm. Tickets are $8 for students and $12 for adults. Go for the beauty of Shakespeare’s writing, stay for the epic swordplay.

Rehearsals got underway in late September, and opening night is mid-November, so the director, cast, and stage management team do not have the luxury of a lengthy preparation time. This is nothing new, though; the fall show’s cast annually works under a time crunch to get an entire show memorized and staged with a little less than two months. It involves several-hours-long rehearsals four or five days a week up until the production. With so much to do and so little time, how does the cast maintain a positive atmosphere? “Everyone’s here because they want to block out three hours of their afternoon every single day to be here, and there’s good vibes all around,” says Margaret Horgan, a stage manager for the production. “We all have rituals and routines that just make us happy. Everyone’s excited just to be making something together. With [Shakespeare’s] language, everything is so intense, it’s very fun to watch.”

“Plays all expand to the amount of time you have to do them,” Mr. Byrne, explains. “With a solid plan in place you start rehearsing with your end goal in mind, and you just get there. And you take as long as you’re given.”

 

AHS Students Walk Out for Stronger Consent Education

By Anoushka Oke

Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court has sparked a fury among many within the nation. High school students throughout the United States have decided to use Kavanaugh’s confirmation as an opportunity to advocate for better consent education in schools by establishing a walkout.

Arlington High School, because of organization from the Young Feminists and the Young Progressives, is one of the many high schools throughout the nation that participated in this walkout. The two clubs sent out their message through an email from the Student Council, informing students that the the walkout would take place Friday October 12th at 10:00 a.m.. The walkout was advertised to be a “ response to the Kavanaugh confirmation,”  an action for “solidarity with survivors of sexual assault,” and a chance to call for stronger consent education.

The walkout was set to last 8 minutes, from 10:00 to 10:08 because, on average, every eight minutes a teen or a child is sexually assaulted in the United States.

Even though the email was sent the day before the walkout, word spread quickly. The day and time of the walkout, a flood of students exited the building to stand for what they believe in.

The crowd of students gathered around a large purple sculpture of letters that read “VOTE.” The sculpture faces Massachusetts Avenue, in sight of anyone who drives by the high school. By the backside of the sculpture stood juniors Izzy O’Hagan, Ina Aramandla, and Audrey Skehan, members of the Young Feminists.

Before speaking, O’Hagan, Aramandla, and Skehan announced that they were going to hold a 98-second moment of silence–representing how often someone is sexually assaulted in the United States.

The front lawn was completely silent for the short period of time.

Once time was up, O’Hagan broke the silence by introducing herself. She began her speech with some statistics, which explained to the students the importance of the walkout and moment of silence. She then described how the dangers of sexual assault impact her and many others’ daily lives; she stated several “rules” that many go by in order to avoid sexual assault, such as “always go out in a group” and “don’t use public transportation after 7 p.m.”

O’Hagan also mentioned how hyper-aware of her surroundings she is when going through her daily life, to avoid even the slightest chance of sexual assault. She and many others analyze every situation, every time they make contact with another person, due to the fear of being sexually assaulted. “We shouldn’t have to have to worry about these things,” she said. “Our daily lives are already busy enough and stressful enough, without this weight that we carry.”

At the end of her speech, O’Hagan told assembled students that putting people like Kavanaugh into positions of power further increases the fear of sexual assault that already resides in many people’s minds.

O’Hagan then passed the microphone to Aramandla, who introduced herself and picked up where O’Hagan had ended her speech by connecting Kavanaugh’s confirmation to rape culture and the fear and suffering associated with sexual assault.

Aramandla reminded assembled students that history is at a point where students choose to make their voices heard, and urged them to continue to do so regarding sexual assault. She said, “[we students] will use our voices to bring our country to the level we’re asking that it be brought to. We may not be able to vote, but we still have a whole lot of power.” By being vocal, students can let those in power know that they denounce this expanding culture of sexual misconduct.

She also emphasized the importance of better consent education, explaining to students that educating future generations to respect people’s boundaries and bodies is a major step towards eliminating rape culture.

Aramandla ended her speech with some encouraging words telling students that they are able to create change; she then handed the microphone to Skehan.

After introducing herself, Skehan began her speech by stressing the point that, especially after events like Kavanaugh’s conformation, it is easy to give up, to stop speaking out and fighting the toxic culture surrounding sexual assault because it feels like activists’ voices are not making a difference.

Skehan also pointed out that, despite the feeling that the efforts are useless, society as a whole must come together in order to fight issues related to sexual misconduct. She told the students, “Sexual assault is not just a woman’s issue. Consent doesn’t have a gender or sexuality. Whether you’re a woman or not, whether you can vote or not, you have a place in this conversation.”

She then listed some resources to which students can reach out about sexual assault, such as “a social worker, to guidance, [or] to RAIN, the national sexual assault telephone hotline.”Skehan closed her speech by urging eligible students to vote in order to “elect officials who reflect American values and the American population.”

The end of Skehan’s speech marked the end of the 8-minute walkout; students began flooding back into the building to resume their school day.