Class of 2017 squeezes its way into Academy—literally!

As most people at Academy are aware, each of the high school classes that arrive each year grow larger and larger. The class of 2017 is no exception. With the class of 2014 being the first class to spill into the triple digits with a staggering 110 students, and classes of 2015 and 2016 also breaking the 100-student mark, everyone waited in anticipation to see if the incoming class would continue the trend. Not being disappointed, the class of 2017 shattered the record with a breathtaking 118 freshman students!

With over four hundred students roaming the narrow hallways, students are challenged to make it to her next class without bumping into someone else or having to use an expert strategy to weave through the crowd. For some, the congestion is unbearable.

Madison Anthony, an AHN senior, cringes at the thought. “The congestion irritates me beyond belief. I wish the underclassmen would read the signs that say, ‘Keep Right’ instead of blocking the entire staircase.”

Contrarily, freshman Hope Stephens has little complaints with the tight space. “It hasn’t been too much of a problem right now, although it is a bit cramped.”

The Brady Center, one of the largest rooms in Academy, barely seats everyone comfortably during lunch. SAGE Dining Services is overwhelmed with the seemingly endless line of mouths to feed. Deneane Bell, director of SAGE, is at the front lines of the student swell. “We’re making it work. We’ll do what we have to do.”

The challenge for SAGE and the large high school population lies in trying to get all students through the line with enough time to eat their lunches. With only a half an hour lunch set, one can barely stand in line for a few minutes before having to stuff her face with what little time she has left.

Jessica Jurado, Academy junior and a hungry customer of SAGE, believes that something needs to be done about the lunch rush. “I find that with the small amount of lunch time, another method of management for the line is necessary. It’s not bad, but it could be better”

Bell agrees that with so many SAGE customers, either a longer lunch period or two different lunch sets will be necessary.

But for some, the wait poses no real threat to their dining habits. Freshman Domenica Howard comments, “It doesn’t bother me because I’m usually one of the first people here.”

With unity and sisterhood being essential values at Academy, students are expected to make close bonds and stick together; but it is doubtful that the statement was supposed to be taken literally! Until there lies a plan to deal with the lunchtime and hallway jams, students will indeed have to stand “shoulder to shoulder.”