AFH Photo//Dominic Duong
Many parents have concerns over how their children are educated. At the heart of these issues is class size. Numbers in classes have gradually risen over the last few decades, and now it seems we have reached a crisis point. Numbers need to be reduced because at their current levels, the quality of students’ education is being negatively affected. Schools need smaller class sizes to stop students from disrupting class, allow teachers to have more one-on-one conferencing and encourage students to be more productive.
Smaller classes enable students to individually conference with teachers for help. “In middle school, the classes were big and the students were talkative and the teacher had no control over the classroom,” said Christofer Luna, a junior at Edward M. Kennedy High. “If the class were smaller, it would be quiet and more controlled.” 
In an interview with NPR, Jeremy Finn, a professor of education at the State University of New York at Buffalo, stated that classes of under 20 students are best. “In small classes, students' behavior changes even more than does teacher behavior,” he said. He added that students are better behaved, pay more attention and support each other in learning more. Furthermore, Finn pointed out that children who were in small classes for three or four years were more likely to graduate high school and take college entrance exams. So these early grades of small classes have long-lasting effects. 
 Research from the National Center for Biotechnology Information has shown that student-teacher relationships are “protective factors in school adjustment.” Also, a study conducted by the University of Turin found that positive and effective student-teacher relationships may play an important role in students' adaptation to the school environment, favoring both academic achievement and adaptive behaviors. 
“Small classes are less hectic because with less students asking questions and needing help, the teacher can get to each student in one class,” said Eddy Batista, a junior at Margarita Muñiz Academy.
 Having the opportunity to ask questions and engage encourages students to be productive and get more work done. According to an article posted by international education company Education First, small classes allow students to learn more and learn faster. “This means the class progresses through the course material more quickly. Their learning is enhanced by the confidence students develop to share their opinions and ask and answer questions, which also benefits their peers,” it says. 
According to the Student Teacher Achievement Ratio, or STAR, study conducted in the 1980s, when class sizes are reduced, student achievement increases about three additional months of schooling four years later. In other words, when student-teacher ratios decrease, student achievement increases.
 It’s clear that class sizes have a major effect on student learning. Smaller classrooms help students to not disturb the class, enable students to have one-on-one conferences with teachers for help, and motivate students to get more work done. 
Imagine you’re in a noisy class, with kids yelling and talking too loud. You can’t focus, you get distracted, you can’t ask questions, and the teacher won’t pay attention to you. Then imagine being in a small class—it’s proactive, you have more opportunities, you’re engaged. The teachers can learn about you so they can better teach you. Which one interests you more?


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AFH Art//Carol Foster
It was a bright sunny day in Hawaii, where humans had yet to be made. Nestled in the North Pacific Ocean were a couple of islands who loved each other dearly and had a child that was a tree. The lady island’s name was Marie, the man island’s name was Sebastian, and the tree’s name was Quinn. This family was special because Quinn was born with roots on both islands, which connected them to one another.
 One day, there was an enormous earthquake. But the only island that was damaged was Marie. Marie had been sobbing for hours while Sebastian wasn’t nearly as devastated. In fact, he looked the opposite of glum; he seemed happy. When Quinn saw her mom crying and her dad smiling, she began to question them.
 Quinn’s palm tree leaves lowered when she asked Marie, “Mommy, why are you so sad? Tears are in your eyes. You can talk to me.”
 “I am sad because of this earthquake Mommy had to deal with,” said Marie. “I had to go through it all on my own,” she replied with a frown.
Quinn then turned to Sebastian and started to question him.
“Daddy,” she asked. “Why are you happy?” 
“Well, I am happy, baby, because the earthquake has stopped and I wasn’t as badly affected as your Mommy!” Sebastian replied with a cheerful tone.
It had been a few days since the earthquake. Marie was still ravaged and broken, while Sebastian was clean and healthy. Marie teared up here and there, and Quinn noticed something was not right. She became worried, which led her to ask Marie what was wrong.
“Darling, Daddy and I are separating because of the earthquake.”
Quinn then realized that it was true. The islands were moving half an inch apart each day. Marie explained to Quinn that she and Sebastian were worried if they split up because Quinn had roots connected to both islands. Quinn had already noticed that the earthquake was driving their family apart.
It had been months since the earthquake. Quinn’s roots had now been separated. A branch of her roots was just on her mother and the rest of her roots were on her father. It seemed as if she was hovering over the water without any land beneath her, and she was nervous of what was to come. She kept on questioning whether she was to be with her father without her mother, or with her mother without her father. Nature was to take its course sooner or later.
The next day, Quinn woke up to the calling of her name from her mom and dad. Once Quinn opened her eyes, she saw that she was split in half. One half of her trunk was with her mom and the other half was with her dad. Although the earthquake tore apart her parents, it could not break up her family. Now Quinn doesn’t have to worry because she is with both parents every day.


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AFH Photo//Dominic Duong
I constantly boast about the numerous all-nighters I pull. I’d like to believe every night of unrest inches me closer to immunity from fatigue and closer to joining the Sleepless Elite. My sleepless nights were originally unintentional. Mix 9 pm trips to Starbucks with anxious thoughts looming above my head and add a dash of assignments I have yet to begin, and I have myself a sweet and spicy recipe for an all-nighter. 
At first, I found myself longing for a night when I could rest my head against my doughy memory foam pillow. But after some time, I grew to love the feeling of being exhausted. So much, in fact, I began to experience no apparent effects of being tired. I felt a rush. It was like living on the wild side, without consequences. 
Of course, the sleepiness sometimes creeps over and nudges me. These are the ways I brush it off.
  • -Drink a tall glass of cold water.
  • -Watch a short horror film to raise your adrenaline levels.
  • -Hold your breath.
  • -Expose yourself to blue light to prevent the body’s natural production of melatonin.
  • -Lastly, don’t stay up just for the sake of it, have a goal, whether it be just to have fun or finish that book report you’ve been putting off.

Hopefully, after all those tips, you have made use of your all-nighter and now you may reap the rewards of being productive. Best thing is, the longer you go without sleep, the sweeter it feels once you actually succumb to it. So go ahead, knock yourself out and indulge in a full night’s rest—you deserve it.


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AFH Photo//Shisa King
I enrolled in my first AP class in the 10th grade—AP Seminar—without understanding the weight and drag of the class. It seemed like every other day there was a research paper, essay or presentation due. For an expert procrastinator, and the queen of last-minute assignments, this was a complete disaster. 
To make it through, I communicated with my teacher and stayed after school twice a week, until I was satisfied with my work. There were late nights and early mornings spent doing classwork. But after awhile, my brain expanded with the work I did, and I adapted to the workload, eliminating the need for late nights. 
This was an immense help when I took multiple AP classes—AP English Language, U.S. History, and Chemistry—the next year, and was engulfed with enough work to bury a 16-year-old alive. But, I survived, with one hand reaching through the rubble to pass in paper after paper, until all the work was finished. I did this by being engaged and present in each one of my classes, by not being scared to ask for help and realizing certain sacrifices needed to be made, like cutting out free time and adding study time. 
I prioritized my academics and what I believed I would benefit most from. This eliminated excessive stress, such as work responsibilities, and helped me manage more of the workload for my AP classes. It is essential to know your limit and make decisions that will further what you find paramount instead of trivial.


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AFH Photo//Kat Morgan
It’s payday. I rush to Eastern Bank to cash my check as I call Domino's Pizza for pick up. Finally, I get to eat! I spend 20 whole bucks on a large three-topping pizza for myself. On my way to Domino’s, I pass my favorite clothing store: Forever 21. I walk in thinking “Well… I can cap my spending at $30. I just got paid, so I can afford that!” An hour later, I walk out with bags of clothes scolding myself, “Man… I really just blew my entire check.”
Many teens enter adulthood without learning the basics of personal finance. After graduating, most Boston Public School (BPS) students find themselves unprepared for the hardships of adulthood—including managing their money. What good is learning math if you can’t keep yourself from accumulating debt or doing your own taxes? 
Ideally, high school is supposed to prepare you for the responsibilities of everyday adult life. With so many high school graduates going into business professions, it is alarming that a study by ING Direct discovered that 83 percent of teens don’t know how to manage money. Money management is something high schools should be teaching comprehensively in their classrooms, especially because many people open their first credit card during their senior year. 
Money management is an essential skill to master—and I’m not alone in this opinion. By  interviewing fellow BPS students from different high schools, even the most prestigious ones, I found that none had ever taken a finance class nor did they know how to manage their money responsibly. 
 “I always hear from people how difficult it is to deal with money management,” said Sophie Carleton, an 18-year-old senior at Boston Latin School. “I guess I will have to go through it myself and find out.” 
“I really don't feel comfortable at all [with finances] just because I have never been really taught anything about it,” said 16-year-old John D. O’Bryant student Bryana Cueto.“The only person to teach me is my mom. [She] tells me the basics of having a debit or credit card, but nothing beyond that. Considering she had never been taught anything about finances, I feel like she's doing the best job anyone has done about this.”
To learn more about their parents’ experiences with money management, I asked the students how their parents learned about finance. Carleton explained that her parents “were never taught about money management. They had to struggle with these things because they didn’t have any resources to.” Similarly, Cueto answered, “My mom had to teach herself and had to struggle to learn gradually how to get out of her own debt and build her credit.” 
The fact that Cueto and Carleton are part of the 84 percent of high school students who desire more financial education was not surprising. Instead, what is shocking is how the parents of these students, and certainly many others, are not equipped with proper knowledge on the subject themselves. Yet, they are responsible for educating their children on money.
It should be the schools’ responsibility to teach kids how to save their earnings and budget the money they do wish to spend. This does sound odd—one would think this is a parent’s job. However, many parents are uncomfortable teaching their kids about finances. As it stands, only 26 percent of parents feel prepared to educate their children, according to EverFi. Since some of themweren’t educated on finances and were forced to wing it themselves, they will likely pass down bad financial habits to their kids. It’d be much more helpful if an expert on the subject would teach our students instead. Perhaps, there could even be a financial class for both students and their parents.


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