OPINION: FRESH should become a free period

The FRESH Period was recently changed to be the last period before the end of the day. This change has sparked a lot of controversy among the student body. They have expressed a variety of opinions, the most common of which is that it should become a free period. 

First and foremost, what is a free period and what does it entail? It is time that may be utilized for schoolwork, leaving the building earlier to get home, and a variety of other activities. The Free period is also a time that students have to stay for advisory. 

The main thing for this to work, is that students must remember what they have going on during their free period. They must remain in the building if they are a member of a club or have an advisory. Although students may feel annoyed at the fact that they have to stay for an advisory, they do not have a choice. Advisory is not optional and still part of the school day. They can also opt to stay willingly if they wish to do so as well. Overall, the free period is no different than the FRESH period; it only permits students to leave the building earlier. Implementing a free period into the schedule would be more beneficial for the students, teachers and school.

Many students, particularly those with jobs, have time-sensitive activities after school. Mija Lisnich, a junior at DePaul College Prep, has a 3:15pm start time at Cobblestone Remodeling. Lisnich has experienced first hand what it is like to have a FRESH period interrupt her work schedule. “I feel like I’m wasting my time during my FRESH period just waiting around because by the end of the day I have no energy to do any homework and I could be using it to get to work.”

Lisnich’s problem is one that many students face, especially if they live far away. Having the free period would allow students like these to have more time to get to their job while still having enough time to do other things when they return home. 

Lisnich is merely one of many working students, and if DePaul wants to show respect for them, we can accommodate their needs by taking FRESH and turning it into a free period.

Joe Voss, the Assistant Principal at DePaul College Prep, further elaborated on why FRESH is here in the first place. While he mentions that the first priority is for advisory and clubs, “[The FRESH period] also gives students a chance to use it as a study period to kind of get ahead of their course work and get organized; so it’s nice to have that built in.” While the FRESH period is intended for clubs and advisory, many students are not enrolled in a club and advisory only meets every two weeks. This lack of priority leaves students with a lot of free time on their hands. 

Although I agree with Assistant Principal Voss, many students already have a study hall built into their schedule that allows for them to finish their work anyways.

So if students have finished their homework, why should they be required to stay?

While I feel that this opportunity should be open for all students, if the school isn’t ready to provide this to everyone, perhaps we consider this as a perk for seniors. They are about to go to college and will be making their own decisions, so why don’t we give them the opportunity to make this decisions about how to use their free time.

This change benefits not only the seniors, but the entire school. With the majority of a class gone, there are fewer students attempting to exit the building at the same time, resulting in less traffic in the halls and making exiting the building easier.

FRESH turning into a free period places a lot of responsibility on students, especially if they have a club or sport after school and cannot leave during this time. They must remember that this free time is an opportunity to proactively choose to do something else like spend time with friends, get to their job earlier, get home quicker or even just avoid the traffic.