by Benji Schwartz
There are three parts of the school day when a student is free to do what he or she desires: in between classes (which is all too short), during lunch or a free period (which is invariably interrupted by a fire drill) or during homeroom — wait, I mean morning announcement period.
That’s right: through the course of this year the morning announcements have usurped enough time away from homeroom that more time is allocated to morning announcements than to free time. And that’s on those rare days where a Westfield club or team didn’t win an event.
Normally, this would not matter in the least. The WHS administration believes that I am a grown student, and thus should be responsible for doing things like hunting down missed assignments or deciding whether or not to vote. It would follow logically that the school would also assume that I am responsible enough to choose between listening to the morning announcements (if there is something relevant to me), talking quietly with a friend or going to buy a delectable plain bagel with cream cheese.
Apparently my logic is flawed. During the announcements, I am to sit silently and focus intently, and certainly not cram for a fourth period quiz. (Remember, I’m old enough that I should have been more responsible about budgeting my time.)
As frustrating as it is to listen to announcements, there are much worse things than sitting for three minutes to hear about upcoming school events. Or five minutes if a school club won a competition the day before. But there is nothing worse than sitting the entire nine minutes of homeroom because a club wanted to be “different” and “funny” with an original skit about nothing more than an a quick afterschool meeting.
This is not where the folly of the morning announcement ends. From what I can see, the administration holds a grudge against the cafeteria staff, or at least the school has set up an ingenious system that ensures that I can never buy (and because of this, never eat) a breakfast. If I can’t buy a breakfast until after the morning announcements, and the morning announcements go into Period 3, when am I supposed to buy breakfast?
Also, on a more academic note, if I have a long test Period 3, then the announcements have effectively served to eliminate valuable test taking time. Not only that, but with only 43 minutes in the period, announcements carrying over into Period 3 can ruin lesson plans and force teachers to give students more homework.
Something needs to change because the current system does not work. Either students must be granted more freedom during the announcements (quel horreur!), or the announcements must be cut down in length. Drastically.
Fewer words means more of the message will be heard. Maybe clubs will have to be limited in the time they’re allowed to use to make their announcements. The school can always put up a Student Achievement Board instead of making announcements. And the clubs with the long skits can learn the sacred maxim that brevity is the soul of wit.