Staff editorial: the students’ guide to next year


“What a whirlwind these past four years has been.” That was a common theme throughout the class of 2022’s commencement events. It’s true. From COVID-19 precautions and online school to the addition of homeroom and the “Driven” campaign, the students of Naperville North High School have adapted to a lot of change throughout high school. And we realize it’s been an incredibly challenging time for teachers and administrators, too. As students, there are some things we enjoyed, and initiatives that have proven beneficial for the school community, while some changes still need improvement. Here is The North Star’s guide to what next year should look like:

COVID-19 precautions throughout the first semester brought a multitude of adaptations to school activities, including the homecoming dance that was held outside in a tent. Students were a bit hesitant to this change, but found that the dance became even more enjoyable because of it. The fresh air and bigger space allowed students the opportunity to take a break in the midst of dancing to cool off.  Also, students were able to spread out and meet up with friends without feeling too crowded. The North Star believes that Student Activities should continue to hold homecoming and other fall dances such as the 80s dance outside. Another one of our favorite additions to school festivities were creative spirit days such as Anything but a Backpack Day, which worked to amplify an environment in which school spirit was at the forefront. We enjoy the wacky, out-of-the-box spirit days that create a school day like no other, and we would like to see more of them. 

Homeroom was a second semester addition that many students didn’t like. Many predicted it would be Link Crew 3.0 or another confusing schedule change. However, many students enjoyed the extra study time and the schedule wasn’t too hard to memorize. That being said, we hope the administration will closely examine the Homeroom survey results, which we suspect will call for a streamlined approach to SEL and academic interventions.  For one, students do not have easy access to counselors, social workers and other student support services during homeroom. Academic resources such as the testing center, peer tutoring and teacher support were not easily accessible to students. We’ve heard homeroom changes are coming next year, and we ask the administration to prioritize time to receive academic support and make up missing assignments.

This year, a popular Naperville North event, school assemblies, returned to the field house. From what we have experienced, assemblies at North can go one of two ways: An assembly like the hypnotist assembly was filled with student involvement, hilarity and stories, while those like The Buster Awards are filled with droopy eyes and sore backs. What’s the difference? Students enjoy interactive, unique assemblies that make it a more engaging school day. When thinking about next year’s student assemblies, we’d like to see more interactive guests and activities that unite the school in laughter and student involvement. We oppose assemblies that stretch beyond an hour and a half.

The “Driven” branding has defined this school year in a way the administration didn’t expect. Students find new and creative ways to make fun of the saying and groan at every mention. We appreciate the desire to reunite the students. But to students, Driven feels inauthentic and forced. Driven was meant to welcome us back to North and reconnect us with the school we missed, yet we couldn’t recognize our very own walls. The North Star recognizes that we may be stuck with Driven, but we can hope for at least more variety in its use – and less of it, too.  Remove the vinyl from the beloved windows in the math hallway and mural in the Small Cafe and show us the school we wanted to come back to. Remove the driven hashtags from club and sports merchandise, posters and signage to let the individual club and sport decide how they want to represent themselves. Reference the theme as something students should strive for – not as  an emotional requirement. We can define our school, but let the students have a say in the way they get to connect. 

Naperville North students have shown resilience to any change thrown at them. We at The North Star believe that students, teachers and administrators can work together in 2022-2023 to return to a better, stronger “normal.”