Editorial: Administration should cancel semester finals

Studying%2C+as+was+the+case+for+this+student+on+April+16+in+Loretto%2C+is+necessary+for+classes+now%2C+but+should+not+be+necessary+for+finals+in+May%2C+if+the+administration+were+to+cancel+those+exams.+

Megaphone file photo

Studying, as was the case for this student on April 16 in Loretto, is necessary for classes now, but should not be necessary for finals in May, if the administration were to cancel those exams.

Megaphone Staff

Given the challenges of this bizarre and challenging year, the administration should cancel finals for all four grades this semester. 

This year has left most of us collapsing into our beds at night, with the exhaustion of a normal school year and the added stress of the Covid-19 pandemic. Learning has likely never been harder for high school students, with so many obstacles in the way each and every day. 

And life has not been easy on the teachers and administration, to say the least, as teachers have had to adapt to new teaching methods and the administration has undoubtedly had to work overtime countless times to ensure a safe and sound environment for students in the classroom and on our athletic fields. The end of the year always provides the climax of all the hectic happenings, and so the best thing that administrators can do to alleviate student and faculty stress is to get rid of all finals at the end of the school year.

While the faculty has done an amazing job of helping students with stress, homework loads and sleep, there has still been the feeling of being drained each and every day after all the emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally taxing occurrences inside and out of school. Counselors have had an even more important role this year than possibly ever before, and yet the students still face each week with more obstacles than in years past. For the students, the elimination of a week of finals, at which to succeed students will likely be studying for days or even weeks before, would be an immensely beneficial step toward ending the school year on a high note. 

Many upperclassmen, and even select freshmen and sophomores, already have the dread of studying for and taking their respective AP and IB exams from early May until early June. For Cathedral, a school that backs up its reputation as a successful academic environment and that has many students enrolled in college-level classes, no finals would mean many would be able to commit even harder to studying for their other exams, in which they would have a greater chance of scoring higher and earning more credit, which would help any student in  college. 

While most of the students who fit the aforementioned mold are juniors and seniors, again, there are freshmen and sophomores enrolled in AP classes as well, and it would only be fair to them and the rest of their grade to have the finals week off should upperclassmen get it. The pandemic has been especially hard on all grades in different ways. Seniors are losing or having restrictions on many fun events that characterize senior year, and juniors are having to learn in arguably the most rigorous academic high school year with a pandemic. As for the underclassmen, sophomores lost the end of their freshman year, and current freshmen are still having to find new ways to adapt to high school and meet new people, all while often having to remain socially distanced and unable to come together as a class.

The school year hasn’t just been hard on the students, though, but the teachers as well. Learning from someone with a mask muffling their voice and partnering with people while remaining socially distant is hard, and teaching with a face covering on and finding activities to do within Covid restriction codes is equally challenging. Teachers have had just about everything except the figurative kitchen sink thrown at them, as the saying goes, and yet our Irish teachers have managed to help students learn the curriculum despite the challenges. 

Many teachers are also involved with administrative decisions as well, among other things. Leaders of departments not only have had to teach their own classes, but have had to help find ways to produce better schedules, keep students safe and manage the curriculum. The administration has been tasked with far more than in past years, from keeping parents informed on the day-to-day changes that happen during a pandemic, to finding out how to best suit their students for each school day.

Canceling finals will give the entire school a chance to exhale before the end of the school year as we near the finish line. Whether the school decides to still have classes that week, or give the students an early entrance into summer break, having the absence of that annual feeling of worry and complete lack of sleep will provide a good refresher. What better way to give everyone, from the students to the faculty, the reward they deserve for getting through a school year in a pandemic than having no final exams? For everyone on the Hill, few things could possibly be appreciated more.