In my opinion, Mt. Ararat High School has taken a step back in trust and maturity. This school has become a lot like the middle school just in the year of 2014. Usually, kids grow and develop in the transition from middle school to high school, but this year has reminded the majority of students of their days in middle school. The Habits of Work system came from the middle school and most students were not impressed to see that be reintroduced this year in high school. There have also been newly enforced rules pertaining to school dances, and also there have been more martinets patrolling the school who give far worse punishments than needed.

First, the Habits of Work is a system that enables good students to be held back, and for not so good students to be boosted. These grades make students even out throughout the grade book. Most students feel this system has to do with the “No Child Left Behind” program. If a good student does all his or her work and hands it in on time, they will receive an 85 for Habits of Work. If a not so good student hands their work in on time, he too will receive an 85. The quality of said work is a separate grade, but the Habits of Work keep the not so good student from failing because they can still get full credit on late work, and the good student from receiving an A+ grade. To receive a 100 in the Habits of Work, one has to go above and beyond the original work and do something extra, or hand it in prior to the due date. But, this is hard for a good student taking seven different classes, all that have work requiring the same thing. An A+ student last year may be an A-,or even a B student this year, and still do the same things they did last year, just because of the Habits of Work. If a student does everything each teacher asks and hands in all work on time, why shouldn’t they get 100 in the Habits of Work? There’s not enough time to hand work in a day early, or go above and beyond for any student taking six or seven classes. On the other hand, the Habits of Work save not so good students from failing, if they just hand mediocre work in on time. These are the problems we faced in middle school when we either didn’t do our homework, or did everything right. The Habits of Work negatively affect A+ students.

Second, there was controversy being faced with new rules pertaining to the homecoming dance. The way young people dance in the 21st century was to be banned at the homecoming dance as it is suggestive dancing or “grinding”. This rule was indeed overruled and our homecoming dance was as usual with said dancing, but most students did not appreciate how we were told we couldn’t dance how we always have, and we were told if we did, the remaining dances would be cancelled. This was the first year we were threatened as such, as the style of dancing was discouraged in past years, but never a huge problem. Even so, during the dance an adult would appear in the commons every half hour and turn the lights on. Most students did not appreciate the lack of trust and being treated as children. Being originally told to restrict the dancing of young people in this century did not flow well within the student body, as we again felt like we were in middle school again, where the dances were no contact whatsoever.

Third, disciplinary issues and martinets of the administration gave the student body the feel of returning to middle school. This year, we get scolded if we are found out in the halls without a pass, when in past years we’d just get asked why we did not have a pass and would be excused. One kid got in trouble for being in the bathroom for too long, and another got searched for being in there too long. Yes, some kids have illegal substances on them in school because they think it may be cool, but most kids are not guilty of that, just for needing a long bathroom break. Also, we are now not supposed to have our phones out in advisory, only during lunch and passing time. We’re told we can not even take them out to check the time in class. I understand that teachers do not want us texting in class, because it is indeed very rude, but they don’t have to yell at us for checking the time, as most clocks in the school are not correct. These strict rules pertaining to cell phones and hall passes make us feel like we are again in middle school.

The renewal of the Habits of Work and the more strict rules on the simplest of things make Mt. Ararat High School highly resemble Mt. Ararat Middle School. Most kids do not appreciate the resemblance between the two, especially the upperclassmen, as we have known the high school as a more free and laid-back place. We started with the teachers not scolding a kid for not doing his homework, as it only affected the kid, and we were treated as adults more than as kids. And for the underclassmen, most would say they never left middle school.

Alex LaFountain