New Senior Spring Schedule Draws Mixed Reactions

As this year’s seniors navigate the end of their Choate careers, some of them may have found themselves grappling with this question: How will the different end-of-year schedule make their senior spring different?

The major difference in the new schedule is the date of the graduation ceremony. Instead of being held in early June, as it has been in the past, this year’s ceremony will be on Sunday, March 29. All Choate students will be required to attend, and after the ceremony, the newly graduated seniors will have to leave campus. The rest of the student body will stay on campus until their last day in early June. As an effect of this decision, seniors will be exempt from any final exams or other term-end experiences.

According to Dr. Katharine Jewett, Director of Curricular Initiatives, the change will ensure that “the first time you walk across the stage is not the first time you experience Graduation.” She added that the change was made in hopes of unifying the campus to celebrate a milestone.

Mr. Kevin Rogers, Director of Studies, noted that the omission of the last week for seniors will combat the largely idle days that sixth formers spend while other students take their exams. He explained, “Now, the sixth form will graduate ahead of time so that they can move on to their summer plans and the other students can focus on finishing up their work for the year.”

At this stage, it is unclear whether the schedule change will carry on to the following years, as its continuation depends on the community’s input. According to Dr. Jewett, “Whenever we make a change, we usually evaluate it afterwards. We did a lot of research before this change with other schools that have their whole schools present during graduation, and we found that it was certainly worth trying.”

The new schedule has procured mixed opinions from the community at large. Some seniors, such as Olivia Podos ’16, seem overjoyed with the idea of an extra week of summer. Podos remarked, “I think people are looking forward to having long summers with their families and friends before they go off to college. I’m pretty excited for it.”

Conversely, many seniors are mourning the loss of an additional week to spend with friends. This feeling is exacerbated by the plethora of events in the last few days leading up to Graduation for seniors, such as Last Hurrah, Garden Party, and the Senior Beach Trip.

Aiden Reiter ’16 said, “I have really mixed feelings. On one hand, I understand the rationale. We are making sure everybody graduates, and we get to be done early and not disturb people taking exams. But part of me also wants that week of just being on campus with all my friends, because when else in our Choate experience are we just there?”

Nazar Chowdhury ’16 echoed similar sentiments. He commented, “I understand that there’s the idea of having the entire school there for Graduation and preventing seniors from doing idiotic things when we have our own time. But I think that the time that’s taken away from us is kind of rough.”

Another consequence of this new schedule is that seniors will be exempt from all final exams, including ones for classes in which underclassmen are enrolled. Dr. Jewett said, “I think the benefits of having everyone in the community together at this very important event are going to outweigh any inconveniences that may happen if the seniors can’t take their exams.”

The seniors will ultimately cross the stage, commencing a new chapter in their lives. However, one thing is certain: we are going to need a lot more chairs.

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