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By Car, By Bus, By Foot: How MHS Students Get To And From School

This article was submitted by MHS junior Lena Rawley

 

By 8 a.m. the last late bell has rung and students are settling into their classrooms. Some slip in a little earlier and have time to get their things settled, maybe take a trip to their locker, while others tramp in at the last few seconds before the bell rings. Just like the arrival times of Montclair High School students fluctuate, so do the ways in which they get themselves to school.

Every MHS student has their own way of getting to school. Some students get dropped off by their parents, a lucky few upperclassmen drive themselves, and others walk or take the bus.

A majority of MHS students rely on their parents to get them to and from school. Many kids are dropped off in the morning and then picked up after school by a parent, if they don’t have a sport or extra curricular activity.

Transportation by a parent is one of the most reliable ways to get to and from school. Many students agree that having a parental chauffuer in the mornings is the easiest and most comfortable way.

“I like getting driven to school because when it’s cold, raining, or snowing I know I have a ride and that I won’t have to walk in horrible weather,” says junior Danny DeSimone. “Also, getting driven to school is a lot faster then walking. I’m able to get there in more then enough time to go to my locker and get to class.”

Another junior, Emma Tae-Keyono, agrees on the reliability of getting dropped off and picked up. “Being dropped off in the morning gets me into school with more then enough time,” Keyono says.

However the efficiency of parental chauffeurs can be hindered on occasion due to younger siblings. “I have to leave the house at 7:30 a.m. because it takes around 20 minutes or so to drop off my brother and then me,” says Keyono. For only children, this isn’t a concern, but for those with a sibling or two, drop off and pick up can sometimes be a very difficult process.

A lucky few MHS students with driver’s licenses and working cars don’t have to rely on their parents to drop them off or pick them up. Many MHS upperclassmen who have the privilege of driving to school use it and enjoy its efficiency and flexibility.

“I love driving to school,” says senior Anna Mazarakis. “I leave my house at 7:05 a.m. and get to school by 7:10 a.m. Not only is it easy but it makes me feel independent.”

MHS students who drive typically park their cars on Midland, Park, James, or Chestnut. Parking can get a little cramped sometimes and many students find it hard to get a spot in the morning. However, for those who get there early, there are more then enough prime parking spots to choose from.

“I have a zero period which means I get to school extra early,” says Mazarakis. “So finding a good parking spot is never really an issue for me.”

For those MHS students who don’t have the luxury of a parental chauffeur, driver’s license, or their own car, walking and taking the bus are always an option.

While walking may seem like a frustrating or tiring way to get to school, many students who walk don’t mind it.

“I don’t really live far from school. I’ll leave my house at around 7:35 a.m. and get to school in 10 minutes. I also listen to my music while I walk so it’s not that bad,” says junior Nia Abrams.

Junior Faith Hill agrees, saying “I have a 30-minute walk home. Sometimes it’s annoying when I’m tired or it’s raining. Most of the time I don’t mind it because I just listen to my music or walk with a friend who lives near me.”

Some MHS students however live too far to walk, and for them the only option is the bus. MHS, unlike the Montclair elementary and middle schools, offers no real busing system for its students. There are too many kids within the system and organizing busing for all of them would get extremely chaotic.

Instead of a yellow school bus, MHS students who take the bus home take the NJ Transit buses, which pick students up on the corner of Park and Chestnut. A good number of MHS students actually utilize the NJ Transit buses, even though many try to avoid it.

“I take the bus because my mom works and walking takes over an hour,” says junior Rena Miesler. “However, I don’t like taking the bus. It comes late everyday and sometimes not at all. Additionally, it takes about 15 minutes for the bus to get me home. I try to avoid taking the bus as much as possible.”

MHS students have their own unique ways of getting to and from school. Some have the privilege of either being chauffeured by their parents or themselves, while others have to take the bus or walk. Although each way is different from the other, every student always reaches the same destination—MHS.

Roland Straten February 03, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Very good article Lena! You need to concentrate, however, on the difference between to and too.
Shelley Emling (Editor) February 03, 2012 at 03:35 PM
My fault for not catching it. Lena does a great job!
Marcella van Winden February 03, 2012 at 03:45 PM
OR BY BIKE? :) Lena, thanks for this great article. Your articles demonstrates that walking to school meets the students need for independence, social interaction, and reliability. Denying our children the healthy and social experience of walking or biking to school is a missed opportunity. What's so satisfying about being our children's personal chauffeur anyway? Your article indicates that some of the students are already walking so why can't the other students do it? Let's imagine for a moment how peaceful the MHS neighborhood would be if the majority of our students would either walk or bike to school. Thank you, Lena, for making it so much easier for us to say NO to our children when they beg us for unnecessary car rides to school.
Tiffany Robinson February 03, 2012 at 04:32 PM
The bike is an undeniably viable option if walking is too far and is absent in this article. It'll get you there faster, it's free, and it's better for your health and the health of your community vs. a vehicle. Montclair has a great Safe Routes to School program which promotes walking and biking to school for elementary and middle schoolers. Again, the health benefits but research also shows students are more alert and focused when they arrive to school using these options. There's no reason why this philosophy can't be used for high school students. MHS has a student bicycle club no? If not there is a bicyclist and pedestrian advocacy group in town - Bike&Walk Montclair who can speak to students about options. Montclair also has a complete streets policy which, when implemented, should provide safe and convenient options no matter how you choose to travel. Right now bicycle travel in Montclair should be better supported by INFRASTRUCTURE such as bicycle lanes or shared lane markings in travel lanes since under NJ statutes bicycles are allowed to share use of the travel lane.
Alex Kent February 03, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Another excellent article Lena! For anyone who has been around MHS in the morning, it is a zoo with cars and students everywhere. It is a wonder there have been no pedestrian accidents (that I know of). The new rules I am sure will help but there is no reason able bodied teenagers can't walk or bike. As some students in the article mentioned, they enjoy walking with friends or listening to music. Adding cars to the road for a 5 minute drive seems foolish in this traffic congested town, and studies show that students who walk to school do better on tests... they are more alert and ready to work.

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