Op-Ed: To Lighten or Not to Lighten

Students perform a number in recent production of ‘The Addams Family.’ Photo by David Barron.

Lighten the Load

For the vast majority of students who participate in the fall play or winter musical, it’s a wonderful experience that leaves the cast and crew with a sense of pride and accomplishment.

Just as with any sport, the musical is a serious time commitment. For those who also choose to participate in a sport, free time becomes even more precious. Our community prides itself in cultivating well-rounded students who achieve academic excellence while involved in multiple endeavors.

To celebrate and honor this commitment, the School should afford academic leeway for cast and crew members, who struggle most around what insiders call “Hell Week,” but is more commonly known as “Tech Week,” which actually lasts two weeks.

The first week, the hours run each day after school until 6:00 p.m. Rehearsals are also held Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Sunday noon to 6:00 p.m., and Monday through Thursday from 3:30 to 9:00 p.m. The following week, rehearsals run Saturday from noon to 9:00 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 3:00 p.m.

The pressure and physical strain takes a toll on the cast and crew, who look forward to the impending spring break. But some teachers still assign substantial homework, tests, and projects during the busiest time of the production schedule.

With over a month’s notice about a strenuous few weeks for much of the student body, it’s only reasonable to ask teachers to lighten the load a bit. Otherwise, students can’t help but feel punished for participating in a school activity that showcases and celebrates talent.

-Michelle Levinger ’19

Maintain Expectations

Students are required to participate in one team sport and two activities, which makes it difficult to manage time after school. Still, teachers shouldn’t give in and change deadlines or lower expectations—nor should they lighten the load when it comes time for plays, musicals, or big athletic events.

During “Tech Week,” which is certainly stressful, many teachers already let members of the cast and crew off the hook in certain regards, even extending deadlines. But what about student-athletes who must play in three or more games in any given week, or have especially late practices—especially during the basketball season?

The line must be drawn somewhere.

Nobody with after school commitments should receive “special treatment” from teachers. Managing school work with extracurricular activities may be difficult, but it’s also doable. In fact, depending on one’s course load, students are afforded free periods or study halls throughout the week, and that time should be used wisely.

As a college-preparatory school, students, especially upperclassmen, should know that college professors will not be nearly as lenient. If our teachers are to prepare us to succeed after high school graduation, it’s only reasonable to expect them to hold us to similar standards.

Sometimes, tough love is the best kind of support.

-Stephanie Cranmore ’21