New start time is a dream come true

Back to Article
Back to Article

New start time is a dream come true

Vernon Hills High School moved its start time to 8:45 this year.

Vernon Hills High School moved its start time to 8:45 this year.

Vernon Hills High School moved its start time to 8:45 this year.

Vernon Hills High School moved its start time to 8:45 this year.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

When asking one of the seemingly thousands of somber looking students at our school “What’s wrong?” there are a few answers you can expect.

The first is “I’m stressed.” This is a respectable answer; we attend a very high-flying school, which means many students are subject to a heavy workload and strenuous classes.

The second is “Nothing.” This unsatisfactory answer 一 rarely genuine in meaning 一 is usually used as a mask for an array of academic or other problems.

The third, and by far most common answer to the question, is “I’m tired.”

Exhaustion is one of largest stressors for high schoolers, and because of that, I believe that the decision to move VHHS’s start time to 8:45 a.m. was a great choice that has already and will continue to benefit students.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, teenagers on average get seven hours of sleep a night. Only 15 percent of teenagers regularly get the minimum amount of healthy sleep (8 1/2 hours) a night. Sleep deprivation can negatively affect the happiness, success and mood of a person, explaining why so many teenagers are frequently grouchy.

Starting the school day later adds almost an hour to students’ sleep schedules, making it easier for students with heavy class loads and extracurricular activities to get a healthy amount of sleep. The later start time is very popular with students, with many praising its effects.

“There’s a lot more time for people to get their day going before we go to school, so I think most people are more rested, more focused, and in a better mood usually,” Nick McNamara (12) said.

Amelia Vlahos (9) echoed this sentiment, explaining that in the short amount of time that she has been here, she’s felt the effects of starting school later.

“If you go to bed late the night before, you get more time to sleep in instead of stressing about waking up earlier,” Vlahos said. “I haven’t been in high school for long… but I think the later start time has already benefited me mentally so much more.”

Tiredness causes a vicious cycle: A student may have to stay up late to complete extra work, but if they’re not well-rested enough the next day they won’t get as much done in school, meaning that they will have to stay up late completing any work they didn’t do. Moving the start time back reduces the effects of that cycle, as no matter when somebody goes to bed, they will almost always have an hour more of sleep than they would have had last year.

Most enjoy the benefits of a later start time; however, there are some students who, despite objectively having less school and more free time with the new schedule, prefer the last year’s schedule.

“Last year, you were living for your Wednesday, because you got to sleep in later,” Sara Weisblatt (12) explained. “When you got to Wednesday and there was only two days left you felt like you could make it through the week. Now you get to Wednesday and you have nothing to look forward to. It makes the week feel longer.”

While I disagree that the new schedule makes the week feel longer, I understand how a late start day gave students something to look forward to last year. Not having that mid-week anticipation can certainly cause a heightened feeling of monotony. There are other reasons that people don’t see merit in the later start time, though. Some students report that they are not taking advantage of the later start time.

“I just go to bed later. I’m getting the same amount of sleep.” Weisblatt said.

The new school start time does a lot to ensure that students feel rested. D128 could have changed it so we got out of school an hour earlier, but they knew that starting school later would have a better chance of students getting more sleep. This change is monumental and very easy to benefit from, but students who choose to ignore the change and stay up later have nobody to blame for their tiredness but themselves.

You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink, just like you can lead a tired high schooler to a healthy-sleep schedule, but you cannot make them go to bed. According to a recent poll, 86 percent of Vernon Hills students prefer the new start time, meaning that most students are taking advantage of this change that is healthy and beneficial for them. Hopefully, students will continue to make use of the later start time, and we will be able to see its benefits in the future.  

Print Friendly, PDF & Email