By: Ana Gonzalez
Students attending Pope High School in Marietta, Georgia, are dreading the end of the break. A construction project announced earlier this year has become the epicenter of controversy. Plans dictate that a new gymnasium, theater, and tennis court are to be built. While there will be many consequential changes, the cut in parking spaces in the school’s lot will by far have the most impact. The response to this inevitable reality has been, understandably, quite negative. Students are upset over the loss of a privilege and are worried about future debacles.
It has been confirmed by Pope principal Dr. Downs that only seniors will be able to park during the 2016-2017 school year. Rising juniors have expressed extreme discontent. “I think the new construction leaves us juniors with the short end of the stick,” says Xavier Davis, an upcoming junior at Pope. “We’ve waited a while to become upperclassmen but construction just throws a wrench into our plans again. We can’t express our rights. Let’s also not forget the teasing and humiliation from rising seniors. The school thinks that the construction of newer projects will benefit us when in reality it just makes things a lot harder for us.”
Indeed, Xavier does have some solid reasoning behind his statements. Sophomore teens generally look forward to finally getting behind the wheel. Driving to school is seen as a huge milestone in American culture. For these students to be denied the ability to achieve this until next year is unfortunate and embarrassing. Rising juniors will also not be able to enjoy sleeping in and not getting up early for the bus.
Seniors aren’t safe from negative consequences either. With the loss of parking spaces, it has become clear that not all members of the class of 2017 will be able to drive to Pope. Meredith Cohen, a rising senior, has shared her view on the issue. “Senior parking is being determined by lottery, which, while a fair method, is still quite frustrating.” Meredith has also realized how activity in the parking lot will become problematic with more parents driving students to and from school. “There will be less space for cars to move in and out,” she concludes.
Another Pope senior, Emily Bartlett, is facing a catastrophe of her own. “I have to drive to Kennesaw University every Tuesday and Thursday,” she explains. Emily will be one of many upperclassmen who have signed up for Dual Enrollment. The program requires that participants drive to a college for certain classes. The situation for some, unfortunately, is that the journey will be impossible without a school parking spot as parents cannot help their children out due to work. “I need a parking space!” Emily exclaims.
There is no stopping what is bound to happen this summer. The best students can do is respect new parking regulations, help each other out whenever possible, and hope that a parking spot is in their future.