Save the seniors with a simple five minutes

Buses and cars alike follow the hand gestures of faculty to exit the lot. Faculty recently coned-off a lane at the stop sign to mitigate various paths of entry causing “right-of-way” headaches.

Photo courtesy of Chloe Jad

Buses and cars alike follow the hand gestures of faculty to exit the lot. Faculty recently coned-off a lane at the stop sign to mitigate various paths of entry causing “right-of-way” headaches.

Per the school administration, seniors are allotted three minutes before the glorious 2:55 p.m. bell to leave school grounds—but only on Fridays. Spartan seniors deserve a five-minute early release, daily.

Every morning, seniors pull into the parking lot, gratefully avoiding the eternally-clogged Kiss & Ride lane and maneuver into their designated spots. Parking, speed-walking, and making it to class just before the bell, students begin each school day at precisely 8:10 a.m.. For the next seven hours, seniors stare down the hands of the clock until they read 2:55 p.m.. As soon as the hands hit that magic number, the race begins. 

Making it to your car the fastest grants the highest reward: circumventing the inevitable quarter to half-hour wait to simply exit the lot. As buses, parents, and students work in chaotic conjunction to get home, the parking lot often finds itself in a frustrating bottleneck of vehicles. Seniors find their school day extended by an extra thirty minutes due to the packed parking lot and post-school traffic. 

This nightmare was especially prevalent at the beginning of the school year, when the administration was just as caught off guard by the end-of-day gridlock as students and parents. Placing staff members at various points in the lot serves to alleviate some of the congestion, but the daily delay to get home, to work, or to extracurriculars remains an issue. Typically, the rate at which cars leave the lot completely depends on which staff member is outside directing cars at that infamous stop sign.

Various students’ cars have suffered scratches and fender benders in the confusing scramble to leave school grounds as fast as possible. Anger and annoyance permeate the asphalt as students cut off teachers, teachers cut off students, and parents cut off everyone, making the overall transportation scene after school a scary one.

One day a week, on much-anticipated Friday afternoons, seniors are allowed to leave class (an oddly specific) three minutes early. On this one day, they are able to take advantage of the calm before the storm and get on home, but as for the other four days? Forget it.

Giving seniors the gift of a five-minute early release each school day would save every person on campus priceless time.

The last five minutes of a school day tend to be filled with the zzzzzzzp! of zippers, the chatter of classmates, and the tapping of feet awaiting the final bell. These last five minutes are rarely filled with instruction or valuable working time since it’s essentially futile to get any student, much less a senior, to focus that close to the bell. Releasing seniors at 2:50 p.m. would have a minute effect on teaching time, but it would pay huge dividends in the streets. 

Seniors leaving the parking lot five minutes before anyone else would ensure parents, teachers, and buses do not intermingle with the initial flood of student drivers rushing to beat the traffic. If everyone is released at exactly the same time, frustrating traffic jams are inevitable.

Not only would this five-minute gift save seniors and all of school transportation, but the inundation of vehicles to nearby roads would be more regulated as well. Seniors would have a crucial five-minute head start on these busy roads, which would help disseminate the surge of student drivers among the more average midday rush. Instead, with everyone released at the same time, we get one large wave of parents, teachers, buses, and students simultaneously overflowing Rolling Road.

If those last five minutes are detrimental to the curriculum, essential for a student finishing a test, or needed to resolve any other crisis of the educational kind, there is always the option of simply staying until 2:55 p.m.. Whether a teacher clarifies they will be using the last five minutes of class or a student needs to stay behind to get help or have extra time to work, those last five minutes will always be there. 

As for the rest of the senioritis-suffering upperclassmen anxious to get home and tired of the traffic, a daily five-minute early release at 2:50 p.m. would be the best early graduation gift for the class of 2022.