Staff Editorial: Love it, Loathe it, Live with it The North Star Staff

Tradition is a vital part of Huskie life, but some traditions are more worthy than others. In this editorial, The North Star staffers divided our daily school life into three categories: things we love, things we loathe, and a “meh” category – things we merely live with. Our school is formed under the presumption that staff and students come together every day in a safe environment to form relationships and grow together. We hope the first annual Love It, Loathe It or Live With It editorial will provide a constructive voice outside the existing school channels to both improve and appreciate our school.

Love it – The things we appreciate at Naperville North.

College Preparation

Currently with a staff primarily full of seniors, the support provided by Naperville North in post secondary planning has been immensely helpful in the college application process. Students can receive guidance from North’s College and Career Counselor Brian La Porte, who provides many resources needed to feel prepared for after graduation. College representative visits and information nights for parents have made an often treacherous process much easier for not only the students, but for families as well. Along with the helpful staff, Naperville North’s rigorous academic standards create a learning environment that makes the transition from high school to college-level classes a more comfortable adjustment. Naperville North’s many resources for post secondary planning is a service that is effective in aiding students and their families while they navigate college applications and career paths.

Course Opportunities

We acknowledge and appreciate that Naperville North has a wide course offering that caters to students interested in many niche subjects. In every core subject, students are able to choose classes focused on what they are most interested in learning. Business Precalculus or Algebra 1 w/Geometry are unique and offer students more flexibility in the rigor of their courses and specialized topics in a specific subject. English topics that focus on certain time periods, like 20th Century Literature, or specific writing styles, like English 2: Journalism, help students enjoy their classes all while learning something they are particularly interested in. Blended learning gives students a new way to take assignments at their own pace as well as prioritizing classes over others. Blended classes teach organization skills that lead to independent, responsible and self-motivated students. An example of this is having a blended class sixth period but a test seventh period. Ideally, the student in this situation could get an extra period to study before taking their test and do their blended class’s assignment for the day at another time.

Clubs and Extracurriculars

If you ask any student at Naperville North what they’re involved in, odds are you’ll hear about one of the school’s many extracurriculars. For the 2023-24 school year, there are over 100 registered clubs, showing that there is no shortage of activities for students with clubs ranging in various interests, hobbies and ethnicities. If a student was interested in getting involved in a business club at Naperville North, there is an extensive amount of clubs that they could choose from depending on their niche interest, like Junior State of America (JSA), Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) and Debate Team. There are plenty of programs that are entirely welcoming to new students and reach out to potential members on a regular basis, so we highly recommend checking out a new club!

What we love about Homeroom/WIN

Homeroom has provided a morning break for students to study or have extra time to talk with teachers and friends. This time brings students together and we see its effect on the school community as a whole; there is a new warmth in the hallways, fields and events at Naperville North. Students enjoy WIN (What I Need) sessions because they have an opportunity to talk with teachers where additional support may be needed. Homeroom and WIN offer a great opportunity to get organized and work on additional assignments.

Honorable Mentions

Some of our honorable mentions that we love about Naperville North include the change in dress code because of student protests and opinion. The change in grading policy, homework completion grades have helped immensely with understanding material and overall grades.

An additional honorable mention is our teachers. Very few people have had horrible experiences with their teachers in class and we recognize that our definition of a bad teacher is much better than students from other schools. Staff at Naperville North are extremely supportive of our goals and education. Getting the help we need to achieve a good grade is right at our fingertips. Putting education aside, the majority of our staff say they have one or more teachers that they feel comfortable talking to about issues not related to class. As a whole, we find that the teachers at Naperville North are supportive and dedicated to our success both in and out of the classroom.

Loathe it - The room for improvement at Naperville North.

Parking and Traffic System

Navigating the daily challenges of parking at Naperville North has become a saga of frustration for students. With no assigned spots, students with late arrival find themselves in a mad rush for parking, risking violation stickers and lunch detentions. The irony lies in the vast, unused expanse of staff parking in the NPAC lot, while students, especially those without a parking pass, are forced to park inconveniently far from school entrances, compromising their safety. Traffic chaos ensues after school, aggravated by parents driving recklessly. The exit from the NPAC onto Mill becomes a battleground, highlighting the need for improved traffic flow. Overall the mix of poor traffic flow and bad drivers makes getting in and out of school a nightmare.

Lighting and the Lack of Windows

Inside the school, the lack of windows creates an environment that feels harsh and oppressive, contradicting studies that advocate for soft lighting to enhance student well-being. Studies show that natural light is extremely beneficial for our physical and mental health. Out of approximately 130 classrooms, our staff only counted 57 classrooms at Naperville North that have windows. Compared to across town, Naperville Central’s remodeling plans stated that their new illumination system, “is provided by compact fluorescent downlights using T-8 40 lamps with energy saving rapid start electronic ballasts and daylight is maximized.” With daylight being the primary source of light, the environment at Naperville Central is already more optimized for learning than it is at Naperville North.

Examples of the variety of lighting in Naperville North shown on left, examples of lighting in Naperville Central shown on right.

What we loathe about Homeroom/WIN

The struggle continues with the challenge of scheduling WIN sessions, compounded by the overwhelming number of homeroom sessions. As many students miss the deadline for class selection, it raises the question of how many are truly content with their choices on WIN days. In addition to this, we acknowledge how difficult it is to move over 2,400 students to their preferred WIN session on a two days notice. Nonetheless, the purpose of WIN would be fulfilled to its best extent if students had easier control of where they were assigned. Students struggle with the effectiveness of homeroom, but enjoy our WIN sessions. Our Editor-in-Chief Claire Tanza goes in-depth about this topic.

(Dis)honorable Mentions

Recycling at Naperville North High School is hampered by a lack of opportunity for students to recycle and knowledge on how to properly manage their trash. Grade changes raise questions about consistency as the past three years have had no uniformity in their needs. Additionally, the absence of a dedicated space for girls' strength and performance training underscores an overlooked need. Naperville North’s high-achieving standard fosters a pressure to conform to an unrealistic standard of success, creating a culture of secrecy around college applications. Finally, we believe that student life would be better without the continued existence of the 3:30 announcement and the mobiles.

Live with it - The things we have accepted into our lives with indifference at Naperville North.

Multiple Bell Schedules

In the intricate tapestry of the Naperville North experience, students exhibit adaptability as they navigate the ever-changing bell schedules. Currently, Monday and Friday have traditional full length periods, while Tuesday and Thursday observe Homeroom/WIN periods, and Wednesday starts at 9 a.m. Late arrival Wednesdays offer a unique opportunity for a more relaxed start, and Homeroom, though routine, provides a consistent touchpoint, potentially fostering community. Although these three different bell schedules were a pain to memorize and operate on at first, to enjoy the positives of late arrival and Homeroom/WIN we recognize that the different bell schedules are here to stay for the foreseeable future.

Driven Campaign

The “Driven” campaign was implemented at Naperville North post-pandemic to foster a sense of community within the student body as they transitioned from being remote to learning in the building. Now, the “Driven” branding can be seen everywhere, from graduation caps and gowns, to the omnipresent "Driven" logo on Naperville North merchandise and around the building. “Driven” showcases the adaptability and resilience of the student body in the face of potential alternatives. While students have expressed distaste for the “Driven” campaign being plastered on an extensive amount of things at Naperville North, the initiative has played a part in creating a unified student body after the pandemic. We acknowledge the community “Driven” has created. We accept that we’ll be seeing the word everywhere for a while and look for the administration to modify the use of “Driven” now that our community has almost completely bounced back from the pandemic.

What we live with in Homeroom/WIN

The intentions of Homeroom are clear. Ideally, these intentions could be pursued with student input. The surplus of surveys are annoying, but imagine these surveys being the students’ vote towards subjects like the Driven campaign or WIN sessions. Through Homeroom surveys, administrators get a good idea of how the student body being impacted by this change feels. The social emotional learning (SEL) section of Homeroom is a clear shift within the learning environment. But the real SEL is having some extra time to dedicate towards schoolwork, relaxing, or socializing. Overall, Homeroom is something that we know won’t be going away any time soon, so it is best to reap the benefits.

Honorable Mentions

While the cafeteria food might not receive rave reviews, there's a consensus that the pizza stands out as a surprisingly palatable exception, adding a touch of culinary satisfaction to the student experience. With a new supplier, Organic Life, hope was brought upon campus as we thought the quality of our food would be much better than past years. The new implication of a healthy balanced meal is what makes students happy to have something more nutritious in their daily lives. Though many of the school lunch dishes are considerably better than last year’s, the school lunch is still nowhere near excellent and leaves much to be desired.

in the end

We understand our privilege at Naperville North and are aware that we have immense opportunities to bask in learning that is fun and lets us achieve ambitious goals. Students continue to be themselves and voice their opinions on what they believe to be right. Naperville North Principal Stephanie Posey shares that one of her favorite parts of the student body is their drive to have their opinions heard.

“I am probably most proud that students will advocate for what they want, and they're not shy about coming up and making their own opportunities for things that they see something lacking or needing within the building space,” Posey said.

Photos by Kayley Queen