Day in the Life
Thanks to Mr. Gallerano’s 8th Grade Religion classes for providing a glimpse into their daily lives at HTS.
This was a good collaborative effort using Google Docs, allowing all 8th graders to participate and contribute.
Also, thanks to Fiona Ellsworth and Emma Rose for their editing and final revisions.
Wake up in the morning, put my plaid on, and take a look in the mirror…flip my hair.
And so it begins…waking up and attempting to hold onto your dreams from the previous night. Listening to Jimmy Hendricks and dancing around your room while you put your uniform on. Prancing down the stairs until you fall, remembering that you are still only half awake.
Over breakfast, you wonder if there will be something special going on at school today. Though rare, every event has proven to be a fun break from our usual school day. Assemblies and field trips are widely anticipated. The Science Fair is a big hit. Also, recently, we celebrated Catholic schools week, during which we get the opportunity to dress in funky socks and hats, dress like a teacher, show our appreciation for parent involvement through a mass, and to end the week wearing pajamas to school. We also had an assembly for students to learn about HTS’s connection with a parish in Haiti, and going along with our donations of school supplies are letters from each of the classes. The representatives who talked to the school about their trips to Haiti remind us how they live as incredibly poor but happy people. This reminds you to be thankful for field trips coming up, which some children don’t have.
There are periodic field trips throughout the school year. The eighth grade has the most. They go canoeing on the Anacostia river, take a tour at Gettysburg, go to the zoo with their 2nd and 1st grade buddies, and take a field trip to King’s Dominion. Field trips are fun because you have no school for an entire day and get to do interesting and fun activities with your friends. All these memories of such exciting trips to come remind you of the big end-of-year finale: Field Day. The last day, with no lessons or classrooms, filled with exciting and wet fun. “Oh,” you think to yourself, “when will the end of the year come?”
A rushed breakfast comes after you realize you forgot to do your science homework. Then your parents casually say, “Oh, you should be going now, its 8:05.” Then it’s the run/walk to school where you constantly feel the pains in your back from carrying that hefty backpack. A few minutes later you climb the many stairs to the main office and rush upstairs.
Hollie Anderson made her way from her car in the drop off line to the front door. Mike opened the door for her. She then had to wait until the next student took the door from her—nothing new. As she was walking to the theater she waves to her friend doing homework in the cafeteria. As she waves, Sister Regina sees her neon pink nail polish. When Hollie approaches the door to the theater, Sister stops her.
“Honey Child, what is on your nails?” Sister spoke in a tone like the nail polish personally offended her. “Oh, that…. Well, I didn’t have any nail polish remover…So…” Hollie stuttered in reply.
“When you go to homeroom, remove it, and you have a check.” Sister stated frankly.
“Yes, Sister,” Hollie said glumly as she walked away with her first check of the month.
She was only a few feet away when Sister called out, “And unroll your skirt, Child!”
When she got in hearing range of the 8th grade, her friends called out to her. She heard,
“What was that about?”
“Did you get a check?”
“Did you get number four on the math?”
“How was your weekend?”
“Did you see the Super Bowl!?!”
She smiled at the familiar greeting from her friends and classmates. This was her favorite part of the day. Coming into school and laughing with friends. Talking about the recent new episodes of Pretty Little Liars, How I Met Your Mother, NCIS, and others. This was the part of her day where she could be herself and not be the good student just yet. She could just relax with friends. “8th grade, 6th grade!” Sister called out, indicating it was time to go upstairs and pack for the first three periods and then go to homeroom. The theater erupted in the new noise of people yelling over each other to be heard while going up the back stair to the top floor.
You open the double doors to the eighth grade hallway and suddenly you hear…THE NOISE. It’s like living in an African Savannah! The trampling Elephants (a.k.a. 8th grade boys), and the nimble gazelles leaping through the prairie, avoiding the trauma of being hit by a back pack or being whipped by the infamous hair flip. Just getting to your locker is a struggle!
On her way to her locker she was stopped three times, at least.
“Hey Holls! I’m still coming to your house after school tonight, right?” asked Hanna
“Oh, yea, deffy!” Hollie replied.
Walking away she heard her name being yelled so it could be heard over the buzz of chatter. Turning around she saw Tony heading her way.
“Hey Tony wassup?” Hollie said.
“Oh nothing. So what’s first three periods?” Tony asked.
“I.D.K. Check your own locker,” Hollie said back in reply.
“Only if you open it. You know I can’t,” Tony begged.
Hollie’s only reply was rolling her eyes and opening his locker and then her own neighboring locker. They talked about what they had done yesterday, while packing for the first three periods.
As they walked into homeroom a direct order was shouted out.
“Sit…in a chair…right now!” Ms. Shannon ordered. As she took attendance and everyone was talking the intercom came on and it was time for prayer. Everyone stood up and recited the prayers. Then the bell rings and classes begin…
When you go to first period, you see lots of tired people. Some people are energetic about starting the day and talking to friends. We usually spend 5-10 minutes panicking because we left something at home, searching frantically through our backpacks, and leaving autopilot long enough to sigh in relief when we find it in our backpack or locate a merit pass at the bottom of our pencil case. Each day, first period is a different subject. People seem to be sluggish, but after they wake up, they become livelier. Each day the teachers are prepared to teach us a different lesson.
Second period is much better. We talk and joke around, laugh, and are more cheerful. We’ve gotten our stride and shaken off the last bits of sleep. You can see the staff and the students slowly waking up and there is a faster pace to the day. There are more interactions between the teachers and the students, and people start to enjoy themselves. Sometimes in the morning you can see potential new students and their parents touring the school with Mr. Darr. Coffee is in the hands of most of the teachers.
Moving on to third period, people are getting used to the normal procedure of the day. Classes start to get more fun. Third period is pretty normal and after the bell rings, break arrives.
“Hey Hollie!” a voice shouted across the room. “You got any snack?”
“Sure,” Hollie answered, holding up her bag of Oreos. Instantly she was attacked with hungry friends.
“I’ll be your best friend!”
“Hey, I gave you some chips yesterday!” Walking away with her snack seriously depleted, Hollie went to sit by Hanna on the radiator. The heat coming up through the radiator warmed them as they rested their feet on backpacks thrown by the side of the room. They talked till the break bell rang.
Exiting the room to calls of, “Hey Hollie, what do we have next?” “Oops, did we have homework in science?” Hollie departed to her fourth period.
The middle block makes Hollie feel like she’s caught in a sandwich, between break and recess and lunch. And once there’s an image of food in her mind…there goes all her chances for learning something now.
The bell after break sends you hustling away with a big backpack. This is the only point at which you are far away enough from the extremes of being away from school that your thought really isn’t anywhere but on what will presently happen in the confines of these three middle periods. There is no rush from hitting the midpoint of the day at lunch and you are no longer thinking about home when you got up or the commute to school. You are stuck in a sandwich of classes on either side of you and you only have to accept to boggle down and get some work done.
Of course, heading into the end of the final of the three periods all energy levels go down, as teachers know. They know the clock will soon run out and students’ abilities to give their attention and learn will plunge going into the final twenty minutes before lunch. At this point we feel two forces wearing us down, tiredness from going through ninety minutes of bustling and learning and the promise of refueling energy to come.
“I wonder what is for lunch today,” Hollie said as she approached the hot lunch buffet area.
“Ooh, it looks like chicken!” Hanna said excitedly.
After making her way slowly through the line, muttering, “Rice please…thank you,” she surveyed the watering hole at which her classmates had gathered. There was a different kind of NOISE than the zoo’s buzz in the hallway. There were more intermittent laughs as her animal classmates had more time to talk about their day so far. Being one of the first in line, Hollie made her way to an empty table. Soon the seats around her filled and the table rung with chatter.
After a short grace and some more talking, Ms. Shannon went from table to table dropping wipes to clean the table when we were done. Passing the wipe cautiously around the table, everyone cleaned their own area and at the same time as the bell for seventh period, Mrs. Shannon once more returned to the tables to give her approval of their cleanliness. Then it was hustling upstairs in herds to make their way to the homestretch of the day.
Next comes the last 2 periods of our day. Last block is right after lunch. We often have Spanish and Religion classes, though occasionally Math or English. In Spanish, we first pray the Examen. It is a time for examining our day, and seeing how God has been a part of it.
After Examen is said and done,
7th period has begun
As sleepiness begins to set,
Our minds begin to recollect.
How has God been in our day?
To answer we must pray
And see the moments that incite
Some emotion that shines bright.
Whether we did something nice,
Or witnessed another sacrifice,
God is there all the time
To remind us of all that is sublime.
Whether we are in Religion, Math, English or Spanish, recess is still on our minds. We can hardly hear the teacher speak, through our deep thoughts of freedom. We hold up our heads with tired arms, as we groan to the teacher’s declaration of homework to come. In religion, we are talking about intimacy and transparency with God. We recently talked about Paul of Tarsus, commonly known as Saint Paul.
Then we continue to the last of the day. After the short interval has ceased, we are back to taking notes. All that our minds can think of now is the glee of the final bell ringing. We are learning “conocer” and “saber” in Spanish class right now. We have quizzes often, and have homework nightly. When the bell strikes 2:50, we pack up our books in hastiness. If it’s Tuesday, we receive our Tuesday Folders. Our homeroom teacher rushes us to sit down; the quicker we’re in, the quicker we’re out! The last few stragglers stumble in to the shouts of the teacher, who are just as anxious to leave us hooligans. As the freedom bell rings, the hordes of students stumble out the doors. Some say goodbye and sprint for their cars, while others socialize at Saxby’s and Wisemiller’s, before going back to the classrooms for after-school math.
Updated: April 2012