Students Like Later Mornings, But Not Later Dismissal

We all know and love it: the controversy of the later start time. Though widely opposed by the student body, the start time was pushed back 30 minutes in the morning this fall, moving dismissal back 24 minutes in the afternoon. The controversy has transferred over as the start time has graduated from theory to practice, and opinions continue to pour in from both camps.

Mr. Paquette, HHS principal, had nothing but good things to say about the change. One point he made was on morning traffic. “We have seen our traffic problem in the morning almost disappear because people can trickle in throughout the morning thanks to the flexibility as well as the organization of student parking,” he said.  Mr. Paquette also noted a drastic decrease in tardiness as well as a more relaxed feeling in the mornings. Upon being asked about the widely negative reception by the student body, he attributed it to simply being a side effect of change, and one which will diminish as the students adjust.

As for student opinions, the sentiment is generally the same.

“I feel more rested in the morning but crash midday,” said senior Hannah Lee, encapsulating one of the the most common reactions across the board. Alissa Tofuri, another senior, was also able to capture the students’ general feelings. “Getting out at 2:40 sucks,” she said, “I’m always rushing to go from one place to another because we get out so much later.”

Others find the later mornings to have almost no effect on their routines. “I still get up at the same time, so all I really notice is that we get out later,” said a sophomore who chose to remain anonymous.

Students with afterschool jobs find the 2:40 conclusion of the day to be hurtful. “I’m losing so many hours at work,” said exasperated senior Hanna Cameron, “It’s making me so mad.”

Others have a hard time seeing the benefit. Nick Jones, a junior here at HHS, said “I’m not a huge fan to be honest. I just end up feeling more tired at school and they had to change a lot of things they wouldn’t have had to if they hadn’t changed the time.”

“I don’t see how 30 minutes in the morning benefits us,” said a confused sophomore. “It feels like the day drags on longer and it doesn’t seem to benefit anyone. In the morning it’s just adding 30 minutes for me to get coffee or eat breakfast. I hope they change it back, I liked school so much better last year.”

Flustered sophomore Anna McCarthy struggles to see the benefit of the extra 30 minutes to sleep. “I’m just as tired! Can you see the creased concealer hiding the bags under my eyes?”

Those who enjoy the later time in full are few and far between. One sophomore said, “I get to wake up 45 minutes later and I love it, I don’t really notice the afternoons.” Senior Molly McCarthy said, “Everybody hates it but I’m excited. I don’t really feel pressure in the afternoons unless I have to work.”

All in all, however, every student agrees on one thing: The HHS School day is incredibly long. Statistics in last year’s presentation describing the benefits of the start time revealed HHS’ school day as one of the longest in the state and the longest on the South Shore.

“Somehow towns all around us go to school after us and get out before us,” said one exasperated sophomore, “I want to know Hanover’s reasoning for being 7 hours.”  

State law dictates that students must be in school for a minimum of 180 days, with a minimum of 990 instructional hours for high school students (http://www.doe.mass.edu/news/news.aspx?id=6682). The Hanover High school day sits at six hours and 45 minutes, which when multiplied by 180 days reaches 1,161 hours of instructional time. Though this does not account for the time lost in half days, those initial calculations place Hanover High at 171 hours over the statewide minimum. With 18 half days in the calendar, the instructional time drops to 1,125 hours, approximating two hours lost on each half day. Still, this sits 135 hours above state minimum.

All in all, the feelings on the start time are mixed, but students are more worried about another problem… why so long?

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