Current sophomores laugh and talk in Studio C, a space originally meant for learning that has turned into a socializing hangout. This dynamic is just one reason why the new policy on freshmen was put into place.

Photo by Sreelikhi Vangavolu

New rules prohibit freshmen from using Studio C

September 5, 2018

It’s a room packed with neon colors, clusters of talkative students, and worksheets filled with endless math, science, and English problems. Studio C is typically full of collaborating students throughout the school day. But one grade is now completely gone from the mix: freshmen.

After reviewing behavior, attendance, and grade patterns of freshmen, a faculty committee composed of members representing all areas of the school collectively decided on the new policy for this school year. Because the administration, deans, and other teachers decided that freshmen were “not best using their free time” in Studio C, the news rules prohibit freshmen from using the space during their study halls or lunches, according to Melissa Pikul, assistant principal for student services.

“We saw upperclassmen engaging in their work, they’d be social and talk to their peers, but they’d also have a book open or be working on something together,” Pikul said. “For freshmen that just didn’t seem to be the case; the backpacks were zipped and if anything it was a video game that was out.”

Pikul says she hopes that the new rules encourage freshmen to get school work done during the school day, which will ideally help them start off high school with a stronger GPA.

“When we interview fame leaders we always ask, ‘what is something you wish you would have known as a freshman?’ and I would say that 7 out of 10 students say that they wish they’d known how important freshman grades are, that there’s no such thing as a re-do,” Pikul said. “It seems like no matter how much we push use the resource rooms and teachers for individual help, some students still felt they didn’t take [school] as serious as they needed to and now they’re playing catch up. We don’t want freshmen to have to play catch up, we want them to have a great experience from the front end. If keeping you in your study hall to encourage individual work time is what it takes, then we will give it a shot.”

Olivia Paparone, sophomore, says that as a freshman she didn’t use her study hall the way she wished she had. “There were times that I might have been focused on other things like helping others out or having an off topic conversation,” Paparone said. “I probably could’ve used my time better to really get a lot of work done.”

Freshmen are not completely banned from the space, however, and Pikul emphasizes that they can “treat the space just like the cafeteria” before and after school.

Although the policy is aimed at helping freshmen, many of them feel the new rules are ‘unfair’ and freshmen want a chance to prove themselves.

“I think it’s annoying that we’re not allowed because of the choices of another class not our own, especially because it’s taken from us before we were even given a chance to prove ourselves,” Caitlin Rasbid, freshman, said. “[I would go] in study hall because I’ve noticed that sometimes I need to work on a project but my study hall is mostly silent so that’s pretty difficult.”

Pikul, however, encourages upset freshmen like Rasbid to look forward to the privileges of eventually using Studio C.

“High school is not as exciting if you experience it all at once. Seniors get to wait for their opens, juniors and seniors get to wait for parking privileges and prom, and sophomores can wait for studio C,” Pikul said. “It’s not intended to be a punishment, it’s just one of those ‘trust us’ situations.”

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