By Howard Hwang, 14, Marshall HS
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As soon as the bell rings—BAMMM!!!—all the students at my high school are trying to go their own way. In the main building, it gets so crowded on the three different stairways that students are pushed shoulder to shoulder. When we finally get outside, it’s a little better, but there’s nowhere to sit from the overload of students. And that is my high school on a daily basis.

To pack more students onto the campus, Marshall High has school year-round. Marshall’s year-round schedule allows about 4000 students to come to the school at different times, meaning on a given school day there are about 2500 students on-track with the rest off-track.

Even with the year-round schedule, the school is crowded. We have to stand in line everywhere; at the lunch lines, student store, and especially the counseling office, where huge crowds gather every time a new track comes on. Inevitably, someone bumps or cuts in a line, and before you know it, there is an argument or a fight.

Jinny Kim, 14, said, "Year-round schools are just way overcrowded, and they [school administrators] need to build more high schools without hesitation. The population of Los Angeles doesn’t just get smaller ’cause we tell it to, so we have to be able to work around it."

Today, there are 18 year-round high schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District, and many more of the 49 senior highs in the district will be going year-round in the next few years. After talking to about 20 students, I found out some teens enjoy the year-round schedule while others hate it or they just don’t care. One student told me he likes year-round because "I like to see the ladies all year long."

Van Nuys High is next

Van Nuys High and Burbank Middle School will go to year-round schedules this July. Van Nuys will have three different tracks for the performing arts magnet, math and science magnet, and the regular high school. "This really is not good because I’ll be split from my friends," said Greg Kim, 14, who will be a sophomore at Van Nuys next year.

His classmate Aman Ghebremichael, 14, saw positive and negative sides. "Year-round schools are okay because of the long vacations and how homework is spread over a period of time. But one thing I will hate when my school becomes year-round is the fact of how early school begins and how late it ends. I HATE waking up early. Another bad thing is how friends on separate tracks will see much less of each other."

I was dreading the year-round schedule at Marshall, but since I’m on A Track, I find that it’s not so bad. I get vacations in the summer and winter, similar to a traditional calendar. B Track has vacations that split up a semester. First they have half a semester, have vacation from September through October, and then go to school to finish the second half of the semester. Then the same thing happens again, with a vacation from March through April. C track has vacations from May to June and November to December.

I like our year-round schedule because it gives me 18 weeks of vacation rather than the 14 weeks I got on a regular school calendar. That means I can take more classes. Maybe I sound like a nerd, but during winter break, I got two boring required classes out of the way—physical education and life planning. This summer I’m gonna take Chemistry so I can move up and take AP Bio and AP Chem in September. It’s true that my school day is longer; last year my school was from 8 a.m. to 2:53 p.m. Now my day starts at 7:30 a.m. and ends at 3:14. I don’t mind because if I’m getting the better end of a deal, an hour can feel like two seconds. I know the year-round system works out for A track, but I feel sorry for people on the other tracks who don’t get the same chance to take extra classes.

Overall, it seemed like more teens were mad about the year-round schedule than enjoyed it. Most of them disliked seeing less of their friends.

Marshall student Justine Yoon, 15, said, "I really enjoy the long vacations and having more classes, but that only applies to A and C track. It really sucks that in year-round schools, my friends and I get separated, and I never know which friend on which track will be in school when I am. Also, when you have sudden vacation changes like you do on B track, you forget what you learned. This leads to low test scores, and low student work habits. Having a year-round school puts even more pressure on the school by having separate open houses for the tracks, and different final test times for the tracks too. So I believe the year-round school system needs to be taken out, and more high schools need to be built."