The Voice

Where are the Bells?

Ritika Pai and Ritika Pai

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The sound has been ingrained in our heads since preschool. It drives school life, keeps us on a schedule and makes sure that we all get to class on time. Practically every school in the world has one and for good reason; the sound has authority over every aspect of school. It might even be something we all took for granted. Well, until now.

The bell is truly a school symbol. Sure, there has been some evolution. No longer do we see iron bells perched on top of school buildings that have to be manually rung early in the morning. But the concept behind it still holds true. The ring of the bell serves as a sign of unity for the school: an iconic sound which initiates each and every day and class. It has become part of the school culture with students of all ages desperately waiting for the sound of freedom at the beginning of lunch or the end of a long school day.

It has also, as of February 1, become part of Presentation High School’s past.

Starting next week, Pres is changing its bell system. Well more accurately, not having one.

Vice Principal of Student Services, Mrs. Mikacich, clarifies the changes and says, “Beginning February 1, we will not ring any school bells. We want to minimize the noise level throughout the school day. Frankly the bells are not pleasant and to many the sound they make is annoying. We believe teachers and students will be able to watch the time, as all school clocks are synchronized, and switch classes with ease. We plan to go without ring the bells for the month of February. As with anything new we will evaluate how it is going during the month of February.”

There’s no doubt that the changes impact students the most. The bell is what each and every student utilizes to get to class on time. It feels like without it, there will be plenty more girls serving trash duty and detention each day.

Mrs. Doolin, the school Attendance Secretary, clarifies these concerns. She says, “The new bell system does not change the attendance policy, including the tardy policy. It does require students and teachers to pay attention to the time. As Presentation helps to prepare students for college, this is another way we prepare our students for their college years [where bells are not used]. Students will need to be diligent in keeping track of time so that they can get to class on time.”

Nevertheless, fear is already spreading. Five minutes to get from one side of the school to another is already difficult for some students. Now, with fears of one class getting out a minute late and the other starting a minute early, students say there will be no time to do what they need to do in between periods.

“I will be so scared to do anything between classes,” says senior Nicole Bruno. “Some teachers don’t let you use the bathroom and now I won’t ever feel like I have enough time to use the restroom in those few minutes. I’ll have to carry all my textbooks with me all day and never be able to print something out in the minutes before class. The new system just adds more stress to my day.”

Other students are voicing their concern about how teachers might extend class overtime if there is no official declaration that the 85 minutes is up.

Junior Soumya Banna says, “Teachers are going to make their own schedules. We are never going to get out on time. Two minutes after the lunch bell makes a huge difference when it comes to getting in the lunch line fast enough. Some students won’t ever get to club meetings on time.”

Director of Student Activities, Ms. Cobarrubia, says, “If we are all mindful of the clock and respect each other’s time, then I think it can absolutely change our school’s climate for the better.”

Students may take some time to get used to the changes, but teachers are already praising the new system.

Ms. Cobarrubia says, “The new bell system will hopefully create a less disruptive atmosphere. Outside of elementary and high school, life doesn’t run on bells. Just think about your own activities after school – you still make it to your after school activities without a bell and you manage to turn on your favorite TV show just in time for it to start. In college, your class schedule won’t be dictated by bells, either. I think in a way that this will help transition students to life beyond Pres, too.”

Change can be good and bad. As long as students and teachers keep an open mind, and an open eye at the clock, the new system shouldn’t take too long to adjust to. It might even be more beneficial then we all thought, as it will help us in all aspects of our life. The best thing to do? Buy a watch.


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The School Newspaper of Presentation High School.
Where are the Bells?