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From the Editors

August 27, 2018


Michael Melinger

Jacob LaGesse (left) and Michael Bernard (right), Editors-in-Chief of the CHS Globe

As our class of seniors begins our final chapter at CHS, it seems that whatever we do, wherever we go, we cannot escape a certain question, THE question, the six words every student dreads hearing: “Where are you going to college?”
For many of us, most of our waking hours are already consumed by preparation for collegiate life. As standardized testing, college essays and applications build on already packed schedules, it’s not hard to go a little insane. We know we are already feeling the effects, and we just got back to school.
The rising pressure that comes with the college search only exacerbates the problem of the hyper-competitive environment that exists within the walls of CHS. Clayton is notorious for its academic excellence. A large emphasis is placed on achieving a “4.0 GPA” and a perfect 36 on the ACT. Instead of going through high school as a student, ready to learn and explore, we are boiled down to a seemingly significant statistic that will supposedly determine the rest of our lives. But what’s the real reward for a number on a 10-cent piece of paper? Hopefully it’s more than a sticker. But the negative toll this hike to perfection takes on our physical and mental health doesn’t always seem worth it.
It seems that everything we do is to impress a certain college, not for our own benefit. When walking through the halls, phrases such as “this class will look great on your college application,” can be heard. What’s the point of taking a certain class if a college (that we probably won’t even go to) doesn’t care if I take it? The true purpose of the high school train, to learn, has derailed.
It’s at times like these when we think it’s important to think back to the old, extremely relevant (and cliche) adage: It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.
We still have a whole year of high school left, but in our eagerness to transition to college we rarely find time to stop and smell the roses. This is our last year at CHS, a place that has served to mold us into brighter students and better people. The skills we have learned and positive habits we have developed will benefit us far into the future. But when GPA becomes more important than this learning and self-development, when students lose sight of the ultimate goal of growing as a person, a problem emerges.
In our three years here, there have been ups and downs. We are writing from experience, as we know we have fallen victim to this desire for perfection multiple times before. And that is the moment when stress really starts to take over.
The solution? Stop, take a deep breath, and ask yourself a few simple questions. If you are in high school just to get the grade, how will college be different? Are you ready to spend upwards of $50,000 a year on a GPA?
As we have realized over these formative years, the most important thing you can learn is just that: how to learn. As we are sure you have heard before, the college that you go to matters a lot less than what you do while you’re there, stepping out of your comfort zone to take advantage of opportunities and to make connections. And what better time to start getting uncomfortable than now?
Here’s to a year of learning just for the heck of it.

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About the Contributors
Photo of Jacob LaGesse
Jacob LaGesse, Editor-in-Chief

Jacob is a senior at CHS and this is his fourth year on the Globe. He is currently serving as the Editor-in-Chief, and in the past has served as Senior Managing Editor and News...

Photo of Michael Bernard
Michael Bernard, Editor-in-Chief

Michael Bernard is a senior at CHS. This is Bernard’s fourth year on the Globe staff.  He is currently serving as the Editor-in-Chief, and in the past has served as Senior Managing...

Photo of Michael Melinger
Michael Melinger, Chief Multimedia Editor

Michael Melinger is a Senior at Clayton High School.  This is his fourth year on the Globe.  He currently serves as the Chief Multimedia Editor for the Globe.  This is his third...

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  • A

    Aidan McAuleySep 26, 2018 at 9:21 am

    Jacob and Michael,
    I enjoyed your “from the editor” piece. In 1997, when I was a senior at DeSmet High School, I shared the exact same thoughts, and I share them still today. It is ironic and very sad that in the roughly 20 years since I was a senior myself, we have seen the most radical and innovative changes to how we communicate, how we purchase and what we value, yet our school systems remain locked in rigid systems propped up by letter grades, arbitrary and inaccurate standardized tests pushed on states and schools by multi billion dollar corporations, rows of desks and students themselves who have learned to put their lives on hold and do what they’re told. We continue to have many teachers who believe teaching is about being the “Sage on the stage” instead of the “Guide on the Side”. Students should always lead their learning. This is your life, after all.
    I want to offer you a challenge. You have, I believe, correctly identified the barriers to effective learning and to quality engagement. You have experienced the detrimental effects of a system that still broadly instills a belief in competition and individualism at the expense of collaboration and empathy. But what will you do about it? And what will you do about it NOW?
    As you walk through the halls today, the rest of this month…my challenge to you is twofold:
    1. To simply, but really, notice the freshmen, the sophomores and the juniors who have been and are being taught to play the same game that you have played over the last 3 plus years.
    2. To demand and implement substantive change by the end of the first semester. It may be too late for you to reap the rewards of the change you create, but it isn’t too late for them.
    As with government, rights are never granted, they must be demanded and taken. Civil rights, basic human rights, had to be demanded.
    Here are a few ideas that you might pursue. I’m sure you can think of a few more.

    1. Increase a student’s autonomy (in any number of ways)

    2. Choice of activity based on interest

    3. Eliminate letter grades

    4. Explore and implement mixed age learning environments

    5. Make snacks and drinks available throughout the day, allow them in classrooms

    6. Have students teach classes at least once a week

    7. Redesign classrooms and consider eliminating rows of desks

    8. Consider simple design elements to increase light

    9. Move learning outdoors when possible

    10. More critical conversation, less drilling with content/facts (at least in most classes)

    11. A reduction or elimination of homework all together. When I get home from working all day, I have time to eat dinner with my wife and children, take the dog for a walk, exercise, attend free lectures or just read a good book. Why shouldn’t students have the same free time to relax, stretch and integrate the activities of the day in a natural way?

    12. Push school starting time to 9:00am. It is well known and proven that adolescents need much more sleep. Sleep deprivation only adds to anxiety, stress and significantly reduces quality of life. High School students should have the HIGHEST quality of life.

    You are our present and our future. Make it count. Make it better.


    Aidan McAuley
    Parent of Brennah McAuley, Sophomore and Gabrielle McAuley, Freshman