Student Journalists Open Editorials

Student Journalists Open Editorials

Advanced Composition student, Natalie Gorji ’20, visited Journalism students to discuss the editorial writing and invite Bolt staffers into a spirited debate on a variety of student issues and concerns. The group reflected on the structure of opinion writing then set to work addressing their favorite points of concern on campus.

The opinions in the pieces that follow do not represent the voice of The Bolt, rather they voice an opinion on a specific topic of the writer’s choosing. We invite readers to weigh in with their opinions on any of these issues by writing a comment on the article.

“We Need to Catch Some Z’s When We Please” by Lucy LaCivita ’19

Mrs. Dooley tries in vain to wake slumbering juniors Laura Davenport and Bre Brown.

Recently, ODA faculty has been cracking down on students taking naps during their free periods. With all of the pressures that school and home life bring upon our student-athletes, they should be able to power nap. It is completely understandable how students lying down in the Student Center is an unproductive image to the outside eyes, but at the end of the day, is it about image or what’s best for students’ growing brains

The school obviously cares about students’ level of stress by the many privileges of Community Work Period, free periods, starting school as late as eight-thirty, and the lack of bells. Though the school looks towards students’ best interests during the school day, they cannot control what happens before or after hours. Despite all the best planning, it is natural for teenagers to be tired. If a student is sleeping it is probably because he or she needs sleep. As a college prep school, ODA should support the students in making their own decisions about time management. Let them use their free periods however they please. A student sleeping in the Student Center is not distracting others, she is preparing for her future.

“Get Your Study Hall Out of My Space!” by Grace Dunn ’19

Ms. Giraud
Seniors Madisyn Opstal, Grace Schlotthauer, Natasha Rittenhouse, Kinsey Newhams, and Rachel Redingham

For as long as I can remember, study hall has been held in classrooms and in the Library. In 2018-2019, however, study halls were moved to the Student Center. But the Student Center is also where students who’ve earned free periods make use of their unscheduled time. A simple solution is out there; we just need to address it as a community

Moving study halls to the Student Center has given many students unearned privileges. Tenth, eleventh, and twelfth graders are placed in study hall due to insufficient grades; however, they get to enjoy being in the Student Center, similar to a free period.

This is not a problem at all, according to some faculty.

“There is no privilege. It is a building on campus. What do you have to earn by walking into a building?” says Upper School Division Head, Mr. Chesley.

Another reason that study hall should not be in the Student Center is that it is distracting to have both members of the study hall and people in free periods. Study hall proctors constantly have to tell students in free period to be quiet; but isn’t the point of a free period to learn how to manage time? If students want to use the time to do homework, that is great. If they want to talk with their friends, that should be okay too.

“I don’t like it because we always get yelled at for talking. It [study hall] should be in the library,” said Jarred Flahive ’20.

The library is a perfect place for study hall. It is quiet and easy to focus there.

Hopefully, next year the administration will consider a change to help students in both periods work, or choose not to work, at their full potential.

“No Straw, Please” by Chloe Spingler ’19

Zara Morsli ’22 and Flik superstar, De’asia Williams consider the straws.

The research is available and widely known: 500 million plastic straws are used each day in the United States alone. Incredibly, these facts have not provoked action. Although single-stream recycling bins are accessible on campus to students and faculty, waste options in our cafeteria do not offer this. This lack of disposing options is further compounded when Flik has to resort to using plastic utensils because students have carelessly thrown the reusable metal ones away. 

We need to take more measures to enforce eco-friendly practices on campus. There are so many easy ways to promote sustainability in our ODA community, including eliminating these useless pieces of plastic from our cafeteria.

Really, everyone. Fruit smoothies are just as indulgent without a colorful plastic accessory. The elimination of plastic cutlery would further promote awareness of many global challenges that originate with plastic waste. Reducing our own plastic intake will dramatically decrease the amount of waste that appears on our very Sarasota beaches, as well as beaches and landfills across the nation and ultimately, around the world. 

This one small measure represents the start of a much larger environmental movement. Other ways of increasing awareness include the ongoing photography project by Mr. Biedermann called Project Trash, an initiative profiling student leaders collecting litter on campus. In his words, he hopes that the start of this project will “resolve the earth’s trash epidemic” through grassroots efforts on our upper school campus.

Although eliminating straws may be a humble beginning, the elimination of plastic straws and new trash removal project will start a necessary conversation about plastic waste. With an easy switch to going strawless or using an alternative material, there is no more denying our environment the help that it both needs and deserves.

“Hey! I Need to Park my Car” by Hannah Bizick ’19

The amount of parking spaces at school has been limited since the school opened, which makes sense considering how small we have been. As the years progress, however, so do the number of students who are admitted to the school. Specifically, the number of students who turn 16 and will be able to drive grows every year. This year, our senior class of 83 students is the biggest the school has ever had. We currently take over the entire front parking lot. The teachers even had to give up many of their spots so that the seniors could have their traditional “Senior Parking.” As a result, all other students are pushed to the parking outside the Arts Building and all the way down to the very end of shell road. This distance sometimes causes students to be late.

When asked about the parking problem on campus, Upper School Division Head, Chris Chesley, said he didn’t think we have a parking problem. “No, we have a rideshare problem.”  

Until the ideal of a ridesharing world, however, more parking would definitely benefit our students and faculty and should be considered in the very near future.

I’m freezing. Is that okay? by Angelina Spina ’20

This time of the year when the temperature drops below 70 degrees and students bundle up in sweatshirts to fight off the cold. With the dress code allowing students to wear only ODA, plain, or college-logoed sweatshirts, we are left with few options to protect ourselves from the cold. Teachers should care more about the students’ health and comfort level other than worrying about brand names.

“We are breaking you free from your corporate masters, quipped Chris Chesley, Upper School Division Head.”  

He fails to realize that when students choose a sweatshirt to wear, it is to protect themselves from the cold weather. Keeping warm is not about brand names. The solution to this problem would be relaxing this rule on sweatshirts for practicality’s sake.      

Teachers Deserve Grades Too by Patrick Olson ’20

Incentive is a very powerful tool which can compel a person to perform at the very best of his ability. Teachers are generally really wonderful people who enjoy teaching. But maybe it’s time to give teachers an extra incentive that could inspire them to do the best that they can do.

Students have clear opinions about teachers and many would likely be on board for a grading system after every semester or at the end of the year. The idea of grading would help students express what they feel about certain teachers in the hopes of helping them improve.  

Many students would rejoice at the opportunity to grade their students, but teachers and the administration might be opposed to it.

Those oppose a teacher grading system might point out that teachers take the time out of their day to serve the students and try to prepare them for the next steps of their lives. Though this is true, grading them would create an incentive to continue to improve could ultimately improve the work of both teachers and students.