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Smoke Signals

Student Swap!


After showing three Wayne Hills students around our school for a day, myself and editor Matt Bielen got to spend the day at Hills to see what it’s like to be a student on the other side of town. The first thing that stood out was their parking–seniors have a much bigger parking lot, so they don’t have to share their spot with a partner, and they also do not park in assigned spots. While this may be more convenient for driving to school in the morning, it also makes the parking lot difficult to get out of since there is only one exit.

When we entered the school, the environment in the hallways felt very similar. Students were rushing to class moments before the 7:20 AM bell rang–and their bell was completely different than our own. Overall, Hills felt confusing to walk around in, even though the Hills students told us they thought Valley was more confusing. The hallways were narrower and more cramped, but they had more windows. However, their classrooms seemed bigger than ours. The classes I sat through had less students and desks, making the rooms more open. 

For lunch, seniors go out to many similar places as us. They have Shoprite, Positano, and Dunkin (much like our Whole Foods, Neil’s, and Dunkin), as well as other places that Valley students also frequent, like Panera. While I brought my own lunch, we stopped in at both Dunkin and Anthony Franco’s during lunch to get coffee and pizza. We agreed the coffee at the Hills Dunkin tasted slightly better than the coffee from the Dunkin next to Whole Foods. 

Since we visited after AP exams were over at the end of senior year, most of the classes I visited were very laid back. Students were doing fun activities and projects–like AP Art History, where I got to play with clay while the other students completed their clay sculptures–or just talking with their teachers. Additionally, many students were talking to each other, rather than just sitting on their phones during class periods–although, this may be due, in part, to the lack of phone service throughout the school. The students at Hills were all very kind and eager to talk to us. Our visiting day also happened to be the day Hills was celebrating the seniors’ college commitments. During their gym periods, seniors went to the TV room to film videos for their college commitments, while the underclassmen resumed their normal activities, walking the half mile from the school to the track and football field. Seeing where all the Hills seniors will be attending college was exciting, especially since I knew so many of them from middle school. 

While there may be slight tensions between Valley and Hills (we are still cross-town rivals, after all), my most significant take away from the student swap was how similar both schools are overall. We may each have our own quirks, but at the end of the day, we represent the same town.

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About the Contributor
Anika Sekar, Sports and Clubs Editor
Anika is the Editor-in-Chief of Smoke Signals. She has been writing for the newspaper since her freshman year. She loves creative writing, reading, and watching everything Marvel.

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