Sophomores Separate During Assembly

Grade splits assembly time between JNA, Carlson Commons


Betsy Fries

When asked about who made the decision, Eckhardt adds, “everybody. It was all the administrators coming together figuring out how we can make it the best experience for seniors doing their speeches and also for everybody to feel comfortable, that was ultimately in everybody’s decision.”

     Due to the growing grade sizes and the limited space available, administrators have decided one day a week, roughly half of the sophomore class gets to sit in the JNA to watch senior speeches, while the other half watch in the Carlson Commons via live stream.

    The decision was made before speeches started and after the first assembly. Sophomore grade dean CJ Eckhardt explains, “We’ve done this in the past where we’ve had to make adjustments based on our enrollment and on the space that’s available. So the reason why the sophomores are chosen to take on this new tradition is because we’re just becoming a bigger school.”  Administrator hope the change will allow teachers and family of the speakers the chance to listen in the JNA.

     For some sophomores, they have no preference on the seating schedule. Sam Hardy ‘24 states, “I like the [Carlson] Commons. I like the JNA. I think that if the teachers want to watch speeches than the Commons for sophomores are a good alternative.”

     For others, they have a strong opinion about the subject matter. JT Sugalski ‘24 expresses “People hate [watching senior speeches in the Carlson Commons].” He brings to light the confusion by explaining “when I was there on Thursday there were like 4 empty rows [of chairs].”

     While the struggles of finding a solution to the growing student body are valid, it’s understandable that there would be confusion and frustration among the sophomore class. From the technology issues to logistical problems, new space complications are bound to happen. Nonetheless, Eckhardt, “truly believe[s] that the sophomores have navigated some complexities in the time that they’ve been here in the Upper School” and “are doing a heck of a job rolling with the punches.” 

    All things considered Suglaski suggests, “It would be better to be in the JNA. I know you can’t get everyone in there, and they don’t want [teachers] standing around, but it would be better to make the rotation a little less frequent”. On the same page, Eckhardt believes, “That would be extremely ideal [for everyone to be in the JNA]. I want my students, particularly the sophomores, to feel like they are getting the experience that everyone else is getting.”