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What’s the Rush?

Imagine you are waiting by your locker to meet with your friends during passing period. You check your phone for the time, for the fourth time, anxious that you may miss your next class waiting for them. But, as you look back up, you finally see them making their way toward you.

Thank goodness, you think. You all walk and talk, until they have to walk into their next class, but yours is a little bit farther down the hall.

You continue on to your class in the crowded hallway (which hallway at Huntley isn’t crowded during passing periods?). And amidst the loud, constant chatter, you hear the unique choice of music begin playing, signifying two minutes until you have to be in your next class.

At this point, your next class is longer than a two-minutes walk away, and even after your decision to take slightly longer strides, it seems to make no difference. There is no choice but to shamefully grip your backpack straps and jog to your next class before the ominous ring of the bell. You finally step through the doorway as the bell rings, out of breath.

Five minute passing periods: it is just not long enough. As students, we are only left time to get from one class to another, but not able to possibly connect with a teacher for a little bit, go to our lockers or the restroom, or chat with friends. Our conversations with teachers, our readiness, our bladders, and our social lives are just as important as getting to our next class.

I believe that Huntley High School should lengthen the passing periods to seven minutes. This gives us an ample amount of time for other things we may need to do, other than get to our next class.

Students crowding the hallways during school. Photo courtesy of Emily Kindl.
Students crowding the hallways during school. Photo courtesy of Emily Kindl.

Personally, I have to go to my locker pretty frequently during the day, having to switch out binders and books, grab my lunch box, sometimes snatch my jacket in case of cold weather, and my newly-washed gym clothes. This adds up to a grand total of visiting my locker about five to six times a day for me.

Though this may not relate to everyone, I do quite enjoy meeting up with my friends and walking with them until we get to our next class, which many people do quite often. Also, for many of us, bathroom breaks are the most convenient during passing periods, as well as conversing with a teacher for extra help or finishing up a stressful test.

Additionally, some students have to rush in hallways in fear of being late to their next class, especially if they get held up in class or have their next class at nearly the opposite end of the school.

All of this cannot be done in only five minutes, and students are not the only ones who are affected by this.

“I’ve personally experienced the difficulty of getting from one end of the building to another,” English teacher Jessica Volkening said. “It’s impossible within five minutes.”

Every Tuesday during third period, as a level leader, she has to make her way from the upstairs circle down to the end of the freshman hallway for her level leader meetings. Making the meetings in the allotted five minutes is sometimes strenuous, and she wishes that the passing periods were longer.

“[They should be] two extra minutes, because the student population is increasing,” Volkening said. “And while the building is increasing, the hallway size is not, so it becomes congested.”

However, the two extra minutes per passing period would add about 14 minutes onto our school day. In 2013, West Valley High School in Fairbanks, Alaska had reduced their seven-minute passing periods to five.

Although the transition induced stress and complications for the students and some teachers, according the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, the ultimate concern with the seven-minute periods was because “schools are under pressure to fit a lot into each student’s day, and a few minutes here and there can add up.”

Though, this can easily be solved by knocking off two minutes per class period. I think classes would be able to afford and work with two minutes less in each period.

For a school as large as Huntley High School, it’s time for a much needed change.

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Emily Kindl, Author

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