Perfect School

Picture this: A 17 year old Senior high school student is walking down the familiar halls of a school that he has all but lived in for the past four years. As this student plods his way through a mob of other students jockeying for spots on the balcony rail, he sees a slab of daylight off in the distance. But then realizes that it is nothing more than a bright yellow Tommy Hilfiger jacket that has caught the rays of the sun in such a way that it became blinding. Finally, as he reaches his class, he sits down with all other twenty-three ďAdvanced StudentsĒ, and begins to talk about the other overcrowded advanced classes he is taking. Also how he is incredibly hungry, but will have to wait until he gets home to satisfy his needs, because of the inadequate lunches. All that he has to look forward to the rest of the day are lectures in oversized classrooms, poor school lunches, and football practice with outdated football equipment. Now, teachers wonder why senior prank week got started. Maybe, itís because the seniorís were a little upset with the working environments. But there is still a ray of hope for this poor bored soul; there is an assembly after lunch about ways of changing the school for the better. Unfortunately, the moderator of this little shindig is Dr. Deegan. Which means six more months of the same, and then graduation. Why is Bellevue West, as well as many other schools across the country, so reluctant to change itís ways for a better education, and what can we do to help this situation? First of all, we need to ask ourselves: What is the problem? Then we list in neat and orderly columns the first one hundred or so problems that come to mind. O.K., so it isnít that bad, but we do need to consider these three main ideas. First of all, are the school lunch programs containing terrible tasting food, small portions (Which may be a good thing on account of the taste), and not enough time to consume food in a lunch period. Then we look at class size, and realize that advanced classes, while having great teachers, almost outnumber regular classes in class size. This leads to less personalized learning environments, which can lead to higher drop out rates, and students not reaching their full potential. On occasion I envy Steven Zuchowsky when I think about his opportunity to have a 2:1 student/teacher ratio in his super- advanced calculus class. I know that I would learn much more, as well as more quickly in a smaller class setting. Having too many other students in your class can easily make you feel lost in the mix. That may sound insignificant, but I have felt slighted by teachers when other students are constantly being focused on. Even when the student is not the brightest student, and is being showered with attention because no one expected him to even spell his name correctly, I still feel that whatever I do doesnít matter in a way. Next you must consider school funding, and how some groups receive it and some donít. An example of this is the fight between the wrestlers and the Athletic Booster Club over the money that the wrestlers raised this past summer at Rosenblatt. Another example is shown in the cheerleaders and the thunderettes, and how the cheerleaders are almost fully funded while the thunderettes must buy all of their own equipment and outfits, with little or no help from the school. And finally, you must consider the source of most, if not all of these problems, the administration. These are the men and women of the educational system that make up and enforce these rules. Obviously, saying that the administration is bad is a wide generalization. I in no way mean that all the office and school board officials are big bad wolves, but in several circumstances they are. For example, Dr Deeganís many promises to the seniors about open campus, increases senior privileges, and more lunchtime. Unfortunately, none of the above named items have happened, or will ever happen. Now, if I sound like I am hounding the administration, I amÖto a point. I really do appreciate the efforts that, especially Mr. Rolfs has made, but even he has his weak spots. Now that I have stated the problem, maybe itís time for some solutions. First, comes the school lunch program. Where to start is the question. I personally believe it to be in the best interest of the students of Bellevue West to get a catered lunch program. This is when outside businesses, like Burger King or Pizza Hut, rent space from the school system in each of the high schools, and offers its product to the students. I believe that would cure all but one of my lunch concerns by improving the taste, and increasing the portions. The school would also profit by the rental fee. Maybe that money could be used for the funding problems that I have discussed. I still havenít tackled the time restraint place on eating so here goes. I believe that we could create an extra ten minutes at least by removing the ten minutes added to 5th hour, shortening passing periods to four minutes instead of five, and starting/ending our day at the original times (7:40-2:45). All I ever hear are complaints about the padded 5th hour and later dismissal time anyway. Next, we deal with class sizes. And unfortunately this is another funding problem that really has no easy solution. Whenever I think of the perfect class, I think of private schools. Then I realize they have the money to be that small, and I sigh a deep sigh, and hope to go to a private college. The best suggestion that I have is to give teachers that ordinarily only have 3 or 4 classes a day, more classes. I know that puts extra strain on our teachers, but I think they could handle it in the end. After all, students have seven periods a day, and endless extra curricular activities, so maybe itís only fair to load the teachers schedules a little. Next we focus on the funding issue. I havenít had time to research the fortune 500 top schools in the nation, but I guarantee that if I did we, would come up with a multitude of ideas for raising funds. Organizations do it every year, so why canít schools. I know that Papillion, for example, has an incredible book store that sells everything from tickets to the school productions to cat-in-the-hat hats to school binders. That would be a great way of providing students with products that they need anyway, and make more money for the school in the process. Another idea is being more critical in the use of funding. Why pay $400,000 for an addition when the departments that requested it only need a $300,000 addition. That other $100,000 could go a long way for covering expenses for the Thunderettes, or giving All-State students a meal stiphen, or buying the wrestlers new mats, or the swimmers new equipment. This last item leads us in to the people that could make these things happen. They are the administration. These are not mind- boggling concepts that would require putting the public in a trance to accomplish. These are appropriations that if accomplished may seriously improve the learning environment for every student that has to walk down the halls of Bellevue West. Unfortunately, I donít see many other solutions to the Dr. Deegan problem. In my minds eye, we could run him out of town, or make him see the light, but it would probably involve pummeling him with our fists until he was too short to make a difference anyway. Oops, too late, heís already too short! Now, I know that we have a lot of positives going for us already. Enough to write a whole other paper about in fact, but I am concentrating on things to make us better, and that will improve my own education along the way. I believe that if we follow my plan, as well as the ideas of others, we have the ability to create an incredible learning environment. One that will surmount any other in the country, and will produce more of the leaders of tomorrow that any school would be proud to claim as their own. As you can see, Bellevue West as well as other high schools in general, have a long way to go to create that perfect learning environment, and I am the type of person that I wonít be happy with it until we have accomplished that environment.