Students will celebrate Homecoming weekend at Winston Churchill High School by going homework-free in the first of two school-designated “wellness weekends.”
When Thursday, Oct. 13 rolls around, students will be concentrating less on chemistry and geography and more on floats and football games. From Thursday through Monday, teachers will not assign homework, quizzes or tests, allowing students to take a break and focus on fun.
“Every year for Homecoming our Student Government Association runs many events that students feel like they can't attend because of too much homework or a quiz or test being on the next day,” said Churchill’s SGA advisor, Scott Selman.
NPR and The Nation recently published an op-ed regarding the national discussion of decreasing homework. Common arguments for the reduction are that students spend too much of their childhood overwhelmed with more work than adults have in a day, and that the sedentary nature of homework contributes to health concerns.
“I’ve often wondered why a regular adult in a 9-to-5 job gets to leave their office and leave their work behind,” Selman said. “But for some reason we expect that our students will ‘work’ an 8 hour day, and then do two to three hours of more work at night, on top of having time for friends or after school programs.”
The idea for Churchill’s wellness weekends came about after the Parent Teacher Student Association hosted a public screening of a documentary titled “Race to Nowhere” last fall. The film, directed by Vicki Abeles, takes a hard look at the pressures students deal with on a daily basis, from academic stresses to packing downtime with extracurricular activities and community service.
“When there is endless homework and tests, with no breaks, at a challenging and competitive school like Churchill, students tend to burn out and their grades drop,” said Tony Raffa, senior class president at the school. “With this break, students can take a breather and have some fun while being involved with school, which, in turn, will boost attitudes towards the school and student grades.”
Churchill’s SGA recently posted a video detailing Homecoming week celebrations, which include spirit days, class competitions, fundraisers, games, floats and of course a pep-rally, football game and dance.
“School is not just about the grades,” Raffa said, “but also the memories and skills you take with the knowledge you have received.”
Churchill’s second wellness weekend will take place on Prom weekend in spring.