Letter: Start High School Later

They say the early bird gets the worm, but in high school, this is not the case. The School Board of Palm Beach County should consider starting high school at a later time in the morning.

High school students are often typified as zombies. However, we are a product of our environment. High school has been set to begin earlier than both elementary and middle school, something that is almost illogical. During adolescence, our circadian rhythms, or in other words, our biological clocks, shift to a later time; our bodies have the natural tendency to fall asleep, and, subsequently, wake up later. High school beginning early disrupts this way of nature, depriving us of precious hours of sleep. But it’s only our health affected, who cares, right? Wrong. Many studies, as well as sheer common sense, demonstrate that a strong correlation exists between well-rested minds and focused minds. Focus, unfortunately, and perhaps not coincidentally, is something high school students lack.

The main concern I imagine our school board has regarding shifting to a later starting time is money. Having to change high school schedules would involve changing bus schedules, which would affect middle and possibly elementary school. Though this is difficult to resolve, it is definitely not impossible. In fact, several counties across the country have found a relatively simple solution: doubling up on routes. They combined both middle and high school routes so that students would share the buses at the same time. Doing so actually saved these counties money by eliminating routes with fewer students. It is evident that the pros outweigh the cons.

School board officials must gravitate toward this change if, in fact, they truly do care about students’ performance and general welfare. However, they are not completely cognizant of it, and it is because of this that the community must voice their concerns to achieve this change. There is no doubt that sleep is necessary for success; after all, it is the night owl that gets the mouse.

Camila Yepes, The Acreage

Editor’s note: Ms. Yepes is a student at Seminole Ridge High School.


  1. Well written. I agree with your assessment. When I was in school, elementary, middle and high school students rode the bus together. All of the start times for the schools were close together. We would let the younger kids off the bus first and work our way up to the older kids. It was a neat experience. The little kids would look up to the older kids, and the older kids took pride in nurturing the younger ones. Some of my best memories were riding to school on the bus. The volume of students we have on the Acreage/Loxahatchee would probably not support the strategy employed when I was in school, but your idea seems feasible. Good luck in your efforts!

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