Students utilize RBHS after school hours


Photo by Tyson Jamieson

Ann Fitzmaurice

When the clock strikes 5:30 p.m., sophomore Laura Scoville packs up her school work and exits RBHS from the north commons. The atmosphere is dead; only a soft whirring of a custodian cleaning the nearby bathrooms cuts the silence of the empty halls. Scoville didn’t have a club or activity to attend; she stayed after school in Malcolm Smith’s AP Physics room to do homework and wait to be picked up.
“Mr. Smith is the only teacher who won’t kick you out after 5:00 p.m.,” Scoville said. “Most of the teachers leave within 20 minutes of school getting out, so we have nowhere else to go.”
Tucked in the back corner of the north side of RBHS, Smith’s room houses several students every day after school. Students huddle around a lab table with their homework sprawled across the black surface. Various pencils linger under binders and marking papers.
“I stay after school to get work done,” sophomore Kathleen Meininger said. “I can’t concentrate at home. My family is always around and the temptation to sleep is too strong.”
The group of after-school students changes almost every day, with a few coming back as a part of their daily routine. They get help from each other with any subject, comparing their classes and giving advice. Meininger said spending free time together after school and sharing stories of the day while working makes for a great bonding experience.
“I started hanging out [in Mr. Smith’s room] two weeks into freshman year,” Scoville said. “[My friend] Dharti always had a physics question, so we always ended up here.”
Staying after school provides a whole different ambience to RBHS. During the school day, the hallways are crowded and different conversations cut through the air. Music playing from main commons speakers during A and B lunch causes the area to be distracting to anyone trying to cram for a test or finish homework. Socializing and other distractions bombard AUTs and increase the difficulty to be productive. After school, however, all of these interferences are cut.
“School is naturally a place where I have to work, so I’m naturally conditioned to work here,” Meininger said. “After school it’s much more calm, meaning I’m able to concentrate more.”
The latest these students have stayed after school by their choice is 8 p.m., though they must leave at 6:45 p.m. Since the janitors are on a timed schedule, students lingering in rooms interrupt their work time. Custodian Grant Michael has a strict time to finish his tasks, and students after school can sometimes get in the way.
“I don’t have time to talk or wait, lots of work has got to be done,” Michael said. “I’d love to rest and chat, but I just can’t.”
Only a few students stay scattered around the school doing what just what Michael wished he could. Some sit on benches in the main commons waiting to be picked up and some gathered in the performing arts hallway preparing for rehearsal or sectionals. Freshman band member Anna Bess sits in a circle with her friends, resting her back against the cool brick wall.
“I stay after school to relax from the stress of the day with my friends before sectionals,” Bess said. “It brings us closer and makes a lot of memories, just by chilling for two and a half hours before rehearsing.”
Either by extra-curricular requirements or by their own choice, students stay after school for varying motives. Getting work done, spending times with friends and waiting for an activity to begin draws students to the empty school, shining light on RBHS after hours.
“Mr. Smith teases us for staying after so late,” Scoville said. “He says we work too much and need lives, but I wouldn’t want to spend my afternoons in any other place.”