Where did collaboration Wednesdays go?

Administration cracks down on Aviator/lunch

In recent weeks the staff and administration at SHS have cracked down on students leaving lunch or Aviator bell. Announcements have been made reminding students and teachers alike that it is imperative students are in a specific, assigned place during first and second lunch/Aviator.

While I agree that the school should know a student’s whereabouts at all point in the day in case of an unforeseen emergency,  that does not mean that our one hour during the day without classes should mirror a lock down.

I constantly hear from friends about teachers who do not let them leave the room, not even for collaboration Wednesdays. At the beginning of the year, Principal Doug Mader talked about lessening the restriction on Aviator bell in an attempt to foster newer and strong relationships.

In some instances, this has been the case. Occasionally my friends and I meet during Aviator to work together on homework or even just to relax together and talk. It is a great opportunity to get together with friends with whom I share no classes.

Further, in a study by the University of California at Los Angeles’s Department of Psychology, it was found that “social support was associated with greater symptom reduction and higher likelihood of remission [from chronic stress].”

It is no secret that SHS students feel stressed from time-to-time. After all, we are constantly being pushed to be the best students and people we can be. While this is in and of itself a good thing, that does not mean this constant academic rigor does not have consequences. Consequences which often reveal themselves in the form of students stress.

Of course, this does not mean students should be allowed to have a free for all and go wherever they want during our hour-long lunch/Aviator, but rather, if they tell their Aviator teachers and have proven they are responsible, why should they not get a chance to reduce stress?

While teachers and the administration may be apprehensive about this, there are examples throughout the school where everyone gets the best of both worlds– responsible students can meet with friends and their whereabouts are accounted for by their teachers.

The group of sophomores in Mr. Mel Hoffert’s room every day is a prime example. For two years Arnaud Cabello, Colby Evans, Andre Harte, Shaan Hershey, and Anant Sharma have spent their Aviator bells playing cards and board games.

“I started coming last year because I wanted to hang out with my friends. Being able to hang out with my friends during Aviator, with a pass, of course, is great because I do not see them throughout the day since we do not share classes. Plus, I feel like I get more done here than I would sitting in my Aviator bell,” Sharma said.

Another group of girls who share a similar opinion on being allowed to hang out during Aviator bell are seniors Jessica Fehr and Anita Pan.

Pan and Fehr have, for the past few months, been spending their hour break from classes in each other’s Aviator bells, starting in Pan’s Aviator bell in Mr. James Smanik’s room and then grabbing a few snacks in the lunchroom on their way to Fehr’s Aviator room in Ms. Rebecca Hansen’s room.

“We only have one bell together throughout the day and that’s AP Bio with Mr. Smanik, and it’s really hard to just spend time with each other while trying to learn new material,” Pan said.

After a few days of not being able to find seating during second lunch, Pan saw Fehr sitting in her Aviator bell and went to sit down in the classroom after asking the room’s teacher.

“Getting to spend so much more time together is so de-stressing. We not only get to hang out and watch the occasional Netflix episode, but we also have more time to work on Bio together and talk through the more complicated ideas,” Fehr said.

Allowing responsible students this privilege will not result in chaos at the high school. Actually, I believe the opposite will occur. I think that the increased flexibility of teacher and the administration with regards to letting student meet up with each other will only improve the SHS experience for students.

Although some may doubt our administration’s willingness to modify Aviator bell, that simply is not the case. When Aviator bell was originally designed, students were told that they were required to read for 15 minutes each day. After many voiced their opinion that the time would be better spent if they were allowed to use the bell like a study hall, our administration amended the time.

They are obviously willing to revise the 30 minute time slot if enough students and staff voice their reasonable concerns and demands.

So, it is up to us as students to present our cases as to why we believe we should be able to meet with friends during Aviator bell. They will listen to us, but only if we put the research and argumentation skills we learned in sophomore debates to good use.

If we do argue for this however, it is important that we remember this would be a privilege, not a right, and we are only trying to get a trial period.

Once we have shown we can be responsible and accountable, then this trial period can become permanent. We will still be required to follow certain rules, and that these rules- even if we do not completely understand them–are meant to keep us safe.