By: Ashley Young — Correspondent
Since the beginning of January, the Class of 2022 planning board has been working with the SHS administration to introduce “senior privileges” during the second semester. The board proposed that once a month, seniors would be dismissed at the beginning of senior lunch. In addition, the board asked for there to be ‘senior only’ spaces, such as the courtyard, available during the spring.
The class planning board sent out a survey to staff members in order to ask for feedback and to give teachers the opportunity to express concerns. Teachers were asked to indicate whether their senior classes were impacted by the proposed dates. The poll indicated that the majority of teachers who are affected by this privilege support it (68%).
Senior Class President Ciara McAuliffe says that she hopes this is a privilege the students are granted. “This is a privilege that senior classes before us have earned, such as the Class of 2020. We understand that this is a privilege, which means that it must be earned and can be revoked at any point in the year,” said McAuliffe.
Although a majority of teachers are in favor of the privilege, the opinions of those whose classes are impacted shared their concerns.
Ms. Courtnay Malcolm of the social studies department is in favor of privileges, but not in favor of students missing valuable class time. “I wonder what message it sends that the ‘privilege’ is leaving school early,” said Malcolm.
“The proposed idea that seniors are allowed to miss part of a class hurts every course in the building regardless of grade or topic. It is insulting to teachers to say that it is a privilege to miss their class,” said social studies teacher Ms. Mara Georgi.
Mr. David Accardi of the science department is in agreement with Malcolm as he does not believe school time should be sacrificed for a privilege. “I’m against privileges in general. They reek of entitlement, and I think it is unnecessary to offer them to students for simply doing what is expected of them,” said Accardi.
“I’ll never be behind the idea, but I’d prefer to see it worked out in such a way that class time is not impacted,” added Accardi.
Sharon High School senior Sammy Agus does not see the privilege as skipping class but just as a privilege that students have earned. “For the teachers that think it is disrespectful to the class, the reason we want the privilege is because it is something that past grades have had and something that we have been waiting for. It is nothing personal, but just another tradition of high school that we do not want to miss out on,” said Agus.
Ms. Lisa Jolicoeur of the English department says the privilege is a great opportunity for those students who are in good academic standing and says that privileges should be granted as they were in 2014, 2015, and 2020.
“Some students miss classes regularly for a variety of reasons, some out of their control, but for students who have great attendance and work hard to make the most of the learning opportunities presented here at SHS, having a school sanctioned privilege to enjoy a break in the routine is a treat. If seniors are willing to embrace their responsibilities accordingly, the privilege offers an opportunity that I would support,” said Jolicoeur.
Mr. Sean O’Reilly of the social studies department is also in favor of privileges. “Senior year is a special time and there should be privileges that are a part of that experience,” said O’Reilly.
Some students from the class of 2022 say they have made many sacrifices in the past few years due to COVID-19 and that senior privileges are something that students have been looking forward to since they were underclassmen. “With COVID-19, we have had a really disrupted high school experience. We haven’t had a prom or other fun activities, and I think that a senior privilege is something that we all deserve,” said senior Sofie Zeleny.
“Especially since our class is not the vandalizers or responsible for any of the other crazy things that have happened in our four years of high school, I don’t think we have done anything to prove that we are not deserving of the privilege,” said senior Nivia Wilson.
Ms. Eileen Alberico of the math department agrees that the Class of 2022 is deserving of the privilege. “The Class of 2022 is a great class as they are bright, kind, funny, and caring,” said Alberico.
The final decision of senior privileges is currently in the hands of Superintendent Dr. Botelho.