Senior Meghan Matthys normally walks from class to lunch excited to see her friends, talking and laughing like they have done every day for the past four years. But when she walks to lunch now, she knows she won’t be able to experience that feeling of togetherness with most of her friends.
“It makes me very sad that I cannot sit with some of my friends at lunch, as I have sat with the same people since eighth grade,” Matthys said. “My friend group has grown very close and have made so many memories at our lunch table, and we aren’t able to spend our last year together.”
Things are different now. One-way halls, required face coverings, block schedules, daily decontamination of the cafeteria and lunch facilities. One of the most notable differences in the absence of Power Hour, now replaced with three 30-minute split lunches, which to some, feels like split friendships.
The loss of Power Hour not only is affecting students and their relationships, it has also affected some students’ ability to study and get assignments done. With the Media Center closed and now acting as a classroom for first and third block period research classes, students who previously relied on Power Hour to print papers or who needed a quiet place to study for an afternoon test are concerned they will start to feel more pressure as the year progresses.
“I used to rely on Power Hour for a huge chunk of my assignments and studying,” senior Andrea Cumba said. “In the future, I can definitely see myself stressing over my fourth period and wishing I had a Power Hour so I can finish everything before class.”
Students are not the only ones who have expressed concern. Teachers also have expressed some concerns they may have, mainly about students. AP Research teacher Mary Schropp mainly used Power Hour as an opportunity for her students to work on science projects.
“I think [losing Power Hour] negatively affects the students more than myself,” she said. “They will have to come in after school or before school to get extra time to test or time to sit and ask questions about their projects. I enjoyed the kids having time in the middle of their day to relax or come in and get extra work done.”
While many saw Power Hour as a time to eat lunch, study, or talk to friends, it also acted as a way for some students to refresh their minds and take a mental health breather.
“I enjoyed having an entire hour to spend with my closest friends amidst a stressful school day,” Matthys said. “After a morning full of AP courses, Power Hour allowed me to take a break and to mentally prepare myself for the rest of the day. While I do still have a couple of my close friends with me at lunch, it is not the same experience as it was with the entire group.”