2015-2016 School Year Brings Change to HHS

Students returning to HHS were faced with many changes within the school: mixed-grade homerooms, a new schedule, and new direction...for the tables.


Senior Ana Diaz Moore is upset with the idea of having a homeroom on the first floor under the new system.

There have been changes to Holyoke High School this year. Specifically: homerooms are now mixed grade level, the schedule has changed, and the lunchroom has been rearranged. Many students have spoken out on these changes.

Among all the noticeable differences in Holyoke High School this year, the most drastic change is advisory becoming homeroom. Students had grown accustomed to certain grades being on certain floors for homeroom with an advisory block that meets every other Wednesday.

This year, there is no homeroom. Instead, students report to advisory every day and meet for a block every Wednesday. With advisory becoming homeroom, this means that the grades are mixed. Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors are all in advisory together. Many students are not thrilled with this change. Shannon Dion ’17 says, “I’ve never had a problem with advisory until it became homeroom. I just believe that it was easier when everyone had a specific floor for their grade. Especially freshman year. It made me feel comfortable having a whole group of people feeling just as lost as me.”

It’s not just the freshmen who are impacted by this change in homeroom arrangement, but seniors have a reason to be upset as well. “One of the senior privileges has always been having a home room on the third floor, due to the convenience of being right near your car parked in the back lot,” explains senior Raegan Loughery. “It’s always just been a way to distinguish the seniors from the underclassmen.”

“This year, senior year finally rolled around and we came into school only to learn that everyone is scattered, randomly selected students from all four grades are in one home room. There’s sophomores on the third floor freshmen on the first and seniors on the second! [It feels like] a major senior privilege has been taken away,” says Loughery.

Mr.Sullivan would like to remind all students and teachers that their voice is important when considering these changes.
Mr.Sullivan would like to remind all students and teachers that their voice is important when considering these changes.

Another change this year is the new schedule. Last year’s schedule was rotating, beginning on Mondays with A-G block and moving up a block every day so that by the time Friday came around the schedule would be E-D block. This year it is very different. Monday, Wednesday and Friday have the A-G block schedule and Tuesday’s and Thursday’s have G-A block schedule. Opinions on this ranged. Some students found this to be confusing where others were more ambivalent about it. “The schedule change was confusing at first but it’s nothing to worry over, said Avyahna King ’17. “It’s just something we have to adjust to. School is what you make of it. There’s no use in worrying about the small stuff.”

The Herald spoke to the school principal, Mr. Sullivan, in regards to these changes and the student opinions. When asked about the advisory changes, Mr. Sullivan said, “A lot of students and teachers said that they think building relationships is important, and this can be accomplished by homeroom. I believe that advisory offers a great opportunity for students to build relationships with teachers and with each other.”

Mr. Sullivan thinks that, “the schedule we had was restricting. We hope with this new schedule it will open up opportunities for students to do enrollment classes and get a look at the real world. A consistent schedule will give students these chances.”

One of the changes that threw off returning HHS students the most: the new direction of the tables!
One of the changes that threw off returning HHS students the most: the new direction of the tables!

Finally, a change that all students have had something to say about is that lunchroom. The rearrangement of the chairs is something that struck up a lot of conversation. Mr. Sullivan humorously said he had “noticed a lot of chatter about the lunchroom. I didn’t see it as that big of a deal! We did it to make it seem less divided. Holyoke High is a community and we hoped that by changing the arrangement of the lunch tables, it would seem more friendly.”

While it is too soon to accurately judge if these changes are positive or negative, Mr. Sullivan said that student and teacher voices are very important when these changes are being made and that he will certainly use them to evaluate if they will stay.