Senior Class’ Year Ends Early for Benilde Rennovations

A temporary sign indicates the current Benilde Hall entrance. With the building about to completely shut down for the remainder of the school year, not enough classroom space would be available to keep seniors on campus past April 27, according to school administration. (Photo by Lester Guttuso)

(COVINGTON, La.) The freshmen, sophomores and juniors have always been envious of the senior class at the end of the school year. This is a result of exam exceptions, and a longer summer vacation.

This year, the senior class will end school almost a month before the other grades, a week earlier than in previous years, ending their school year on April 27, while everyone else will remain in class until May 22.

There is method behind this madness of the seniors leaving almost a month ahead of the official end of the school year.

“We have always been the last school to get out for seniors,” Principal Trevor Watkins said.  “If you look around other schools in our area, they have traditionally gotten out one or two weeks earlier. This year, Easter falls kind of awkwardly at the end here. We use to stay very late because we wanted to administer the AP exams while students  were still in school. AP keeps pushing their exams further and further into the summer, so even if we have stayed in school this year, the AP exams would not be given during school. In fact, some of them will be given after graduation, they moved them that far up.”

The primary motivation for adjusting the schedule is that Benilde Hall has started undergoing renovations this year, with the project planned to be finished by the start of next school year.

“So when we looked at all those things together and the needs for getting out of Benilde Hall as soon as possible, we made the decision for this year to have the seniors leave early,” Watkins said.  

Patrick Baldone, one of the class of 2018 valedictorians, is not worried for the impending AP tests with less class time to prepare, but wishes the tests were earlier.

“Well, for one, I would feel stressed to do well,” Baldone said. “However, I don’t feel too stressed. While I feel well prepared, I won’t use any credit from the calculus exam in college, so I’m not freaking out trying to get a 5. For the other two exams, doing well isn’t a must , but it would be nice. Therefore, I’m just going in trying to do my best.”

2017 seniors throw their caps in the air to signify their departure from high school following the graduation ceremony on May 13, 2017. (Photo by Joel Fernandes)

Baldone also says the senior teachers have done well in getting the material needed to be covered in the shorter amount of time.

“The cramming isn’t actually very bad,” Baldone said. “The teachers have done well to adjust to an unexpected loss of a week. Physics is an example of one that made some changes to adjust. Mrs. Peak gave more stuff more quickly, but she did a good job splitting it up within the remaining time she had. The students in my calculus class are willing to make time after school ends to come back in order to prepare a little more for the AP exam since we did lose those classes. It takes a little extra effort from both sides to make it work.”

The seniors will be graduating in the Briggs Assembly Center on May 12, 2018.

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