Pa. students, administrators voice opinions on study halls

April 12, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

During his study hall period on Monday, April 5, Matt Pensinger, a junior at Chambersburg Area Senior High School, was trying to take a nap in the cafeteria.

Interrupted by a reporter asking students their thoughts about study hall, he said that when he has homework, he uses the study hall to do work for his classes.

But on days when he does not have homework to do, he uses the time to rest and nap, said Pensinger, 16.


While other students attending one of the study halls at the school cafeteria that afternoon appeared more alert, Pensinger was not the only one who said they use the study hall -at least some times -to rest and relax.

"It is chill time," said Katie Toth, 17, a senior. Another student referred to it as "down time."

"I like it. It is relaxing," said Theresa Myers, 18, a senior. "We use it to study most of the time."

Barry Purvis said this is his first year as principal of Chambersburg Area Senior High School, so he still is assessing the value of study hall. But he said that he has some initial opinions gained from watching the study hall in progress.

"Most kids don't use it to study. Most of them are just messing around," Purvis said.

Near the end of one of the approximately 45-minute study periods Michael Sarge, 18, a senior, was spinning a quarter on a table while Christa Riendeau, 17, a senior, watched.

Sarge joked that he was using the coin to ponder the probability that it will land with the head on the coin facing up.

Earlier in the study period, he had finished his chemistry homework, he said. He spends about half of his time in study hall actually doing educational work, he said.

Sarge said he would not even be at study hall if he were not required to do so.

He could get his homework and studying done faster and better at home than he could in study hall, he said.

Riendeau said she, too, could study better at home than at school.

But for some students, the study hall period is helpful, she said, pointing to Jessica Shade, 16, who was sitting at the table with them.

Shade, a sophomore, said she likes study hall because it gives her time to catch up on homework and studying.

Teacher Jessica Fisher, who was supervising the study hall, said about half of the students use the time to study and the other half use it for other purposes.

She pointed to one table as an example of students who use the time for academic purposes.

Chris Bosenbark, a senior who was sitting at the table, said he and two others who sit with him use the study hall period to study together for their calculus and chemistry classes.

"We can learn cooperatively," said Bosenbark, 18.

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