Telling Holyoke High's Story Since 1898

The Herald

Telling Holyoke High's Story Since 1898

The Herald

Telling Holyoke High's Story Since 1898

The Herald

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A Glimpse Into Holyoke High After YONDR Pouches


Welcome back Holyoke High school! This 2023-2024 school year the Holyoke district is implementing YONDR pouches in order for students to be more focused on their academics  rather than their cellular device(s). In essence,  YONDR pouches are pouches that you insert your cellular device into and it locks your cellular device inside of it, so students will still be able to carry the pouches, yet they won’t be able to open them until an authorized staff member does so during the time of dismissal. 

One of the schools affected was none other than Holyoke High North Campus. During the first three days of the school year principal McKenna held assemblies for each grade level with all the assemblies mentioning the implementation of the YONDR pouches. During each assembly there was a roar of “BOOS” from each grade level. 

When asked about the general’s thoughts on the implementation of the YONDR bags, students expressed mixed feelings. One student expressed “I just think the money for the pouches could’ve been used for better things, things that should’ve been put in before the pouches like supplies for teachers so they don’t have to take it out of their own wallet”, said Xander Cruz, 11th Grader. 

On day four, students didn’t react positively to its implementation. So far, we’ve seen several students break the pouches via hitting them on the ground, walls, desk, chairs. 

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Albeit most students were damaging their pouches, not every student reacted this way as some students went on with their school day with the pouches with no damage nor complaints.

When asked about how the YONDR bags are affecting everyday school life, one student expressed “I don’t really care about the pouches, I still go along with my day”, said Daniel Rodriguez, 11th Grader.

Due to all the students damaging their pouches, principal McKennna had a policy prepared. Every student who damaged their pouch would get their pouch and phone taken to the office where it would stay for the whole day. At the end of the day, the parent of the student would have to come to the school and take it.

Staff’s reaction to the policy was more accepting of the implementation. Principal McKenna stated that “The phones are addictions!” during the assemblies she held. During the assemblies when talking about the YONDR pouches, each and every one of the staff members responded maturely to all the negative comments stating that “This is a good thing for the students”. 

Certain teachers are still not fully accustomed to the implementation of the pouches. Some teachers still may accidentally tell the students “Pull your phones out to take a picture” and “You guys can listen to music to focus, oh wait nevermind”, forgetting about the limitations on the YONDR pouches. Teachers themselves aren’t supposed to use their phones either.

There are a multitude of benefits to the YONDR pouch implementation for the students and the teacher. The most obvious benefit is the fact that teachers will not have to remind students about being distracted on their cellular device which leads to more class discussions. 

A second benefit is students being able to focus more as they are not distracted on their cellular device. A third benefit is a lack of cheating as students won’t be able to cheat via their cellular device. In essence the pouches have a huge positive view based on the educational standpoint.

Now as there are upsides, there are also downsides to these pouches. The first of which is a sense of betrayal when it comes to the bond between HHS staff and HHS students. Certain students can argue that the staff feels as if there is a sense of distrust with students and their self-discipline when it comes to them being on their phone. 

Another downside is the inconvenience in certain classes, an example is the Herald class itself. Typically the digital photographer would use their phone in order to take pictures during school for the Herald promo pictures in articles, but can’t anymore. 

In conclusion, YONDR pouches have brought a mixed bag of reactions to HHS. While they undeniably offer advantages like reduced distractions and improved classroom management, they also raise concerns about personal freedom and convenience. The debate continues, HHS will grapple with finding the right balance between discipline and autonomy during this school year.

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