Lounging or Learning in the Middle of a School Day?

Sierra Rivers, writer

It’s 11:30 and you are about to head to activity period. Only you don’t have any activities to participate in. What do you do? Where do you go? Emerson High School is going on it’s third year of the new activity period policy. Instead of an early dismissal at 2:30, the school day has been extended to 3 o’clock because of a thirty minute break in the middle of the day. 

The goal of the activity period is to allow students to meet for clubs and meet with their teachers for extra help. In reality this period is not always used for its intended purpose. If students do not have a teacher to visit, they do not know what to do with their time. Instead, most students lay around on the floors (along with  squashed grapes or crumb foraging ants) or wander the hallways looking for something to do. In this regard, activity period is not beneficial for students who don’t belong to a club or who don’t have school work that needs to be completed. 

In the past, early dismissal meant students who didn’t need help could  leave and students who needed extra help had the ability to stay after 2:30. Activity period makes students sit in the hallways and this is not a conducive place for doing homework. Also, people can’t focus if they aren’t comfortable, which won’t happen on a cold school floor. 

Another reason for going back to the early dismissal is that Emerson High School gets out much later than surrounding schools. For example Immaculate Heart Academy in Washington Township is dismissed at 1:55 and Bergen Catholic in Oradell is dismissed at 2:00. Some people believe that Activity period is more beneficial because it allows clubs to meet but it also wastes the crucial time a student has in their day. 

Sophomore Jamie Falatico agrees“Students have more time to get homework done if they have sports… and can spend more time with family or friends which works on their social skills with reality outside of school.”  On the other side of the argument, freshman Carrie Freedman says, “Activity period gives people the chance to participate in clubs if they have a sport after school.” While this is true, sports would not start until after or around 3:00, giving the solid thirty minutes for clubs to meet. 

Activity period is not convenient for many students and teachers while early dismissal can benefit a larger portion of Emerson High School.