Homecoming date causes stress, detracts from school spirit

September 27, 2010 — by Will Edman and Cecilia Hollenhorst

Every year, quad days and the Homecoming football game draw large crowds of spirited students, but this year, students may be occupied with much more than just Homecoming.

Unlike most years, Homecoming takes place the same week as the SATs and the end of the six-week grading period, forcing students to choose between school spirit and academics.

For many students, the SAT requires months of preparation. However, a final week of studying and a good night of rest and time to prepare materials is important for a student who aspires to receive a high score. Staying out late to watch a football game will certainly lead to a tired, unprepared test-taker the next day.

The end of the first grading period creates a major conflict with Homecoming as well. During the final week of normal grading periods, students are usually overwhelmed with numerous tests and projects. This year, however, students will not only be required to complete their assignments but will also need to keep track of quad day dance rehearsals and meetings. With the current schedule, the weekend before a multitude of tests, usually a weekend devoted to studying, must also be used for Homecoming decoration building.

The week preceding SATs and the end of the grading period should be set aside for test preparation and time for students to get help from teachers, not filled with even more distractions than usual. Students should not have to choose between asking a teacher for help to prepare for a test and watching quad day at lunch.

While it is understandable for Homecoming to be scheduled against a team such as Lynbrook, which Saratoga has a high chance of beating in the football game, academics should always come before spirit at an educational institution. Losing the Homecoming game is never ideal, but neither is failing a class because of late-night quad day preparation. At the same time, the distractions of SATs the next day will only hurt the number of supporters and focus of the football team at the Homecoming game.

Homecoming and other large school events should not be scheduled during such important and stressful academic times. While it is understood that keeping so many schedules in mind is difficult, this problem should have been avoided.

Notice for the Oct. 9 SAT was available far before Homecoming dates were determined, as was the end of the six-week grading period. Although it is important that the football team win its Homecoming game, a loss would be better overall for everyone if it provided students the opportunity to achieve their academic goals more easily.

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