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There’s no music sweeter to the ears of a Harrisite than that of Mozart at 3 pm on a Friday.
For most students, Friday nights mean hanging out with friends at popular eateries such as Kim Ga Nae, New World Mall, Starbucks, and Chipotle. Sophomore Brianna Manginelli usually dines out with her friends before going to someone’s house to relax. She says, “It is not the best idea because you lose a whole night. It’s even worse when you have more commitments on the weekend along with the Friday hanging out. However, I , along with many if not all others, find after school on Fridays to be our calm time. A mini vacation from stress that should be spent how you want it to be.” Junior Michelle Zalewski could not agree more. “I do enough school work during the week that I feel like I deserve an evening to just relax and do what I want.”
The next popular response is returning home not to do work but rather to catch up on deprived sleep and favorite tv shows. Sophomore Shenez Stuart said, “I definitely do not do homework. I catch up on all my tv shows because it is finally the end of the week. I have the rest of the weekend to do work.”
Other students seek comfort and relaxation at religious gatherings through Seekers Club or their local church. When asked why these Harritistes attend church on Fridays as opposed to the norm of hanging out or going home, junior Joan Nieh replied, “ I like how it is welcoming and how I have many friends that are like sisters and brothers whom I can trust. It is comforting because it reminds me that although there are so much wrong things going on in the world, I still have a safe haven I could go to and it’s a place where I can get away from all the stresses I have during the week.”
For some students of Jewish heritage, Friday evening marks the start of the sabbath, which lasts until nightfall the following day. The sabbath can be a time to connect with family and religious tradition. “Every Friday, you are supposed to sit down with your family and have your father make prayers for you,” explained freshman Benson Yunatanov.
There are some students who can not seem to get enough work and spend Friday nights volunteering or enhancing their education through research opportunities. Due to science research requirements, senior Faisal Hossain works on mercury research in the lab at John Jay College of Criminal Justice with Dr. Garry Brown under the supervision of Dr. Anthony Carpi. Aside from his interest in the lab work, Faisal says, “I do not mind spending my Fridays this way and not being able to hang out with friends because it is nice to go to the city alone and take in the city’s beauty at night.”
However, not everyone has the opportunity to do what they wish on Friday nights due to lack of parental permission. Senior Elizabeth Tum tells us, “There are times when I can not go to places because the area is too dangerous or too far or because I’m not accompanied by someone.” She further expressed her frustration for this inconvenience saying, “It is a bit annoying because I have to constantly depend on other people so my parents will let me go places.”
Fellow staff member and physical education and health teacher, Ms. Assante reveals her thoughts on how students should spend their Fridays. “You cannot forget you have work to do, but everyone needs to have a little time. If you force them to dive right into work, then there is no weekend and resentment builds, which might cause them to rebel.” Regarding restrictions and curfews, Ms. Assante is lenient as she just wants her kids to stay in touch with her. “You cannot be gone, and not touch base, you know? There are others thing they could be doing other than socializing in person.”
Assistant Principal of Organization Ellen Fee agrees with Ms. Assante and adds, “ It is always good to hang out with friends on Fridays because Townsend Harris is a special place and the friendships students make here will last a long time.” As a mother herself, she requires her children to discuss their plans the day before, detailing the location and time of their whereabouts. If there are any conflicts, Ms. Fee negotiates with her children until they reach a compromise.
Although Principal Barbetta gives two perspectives on what students should do on Fridays he prefers students to finish their work on Friday so that they have more time to relax and spend time with the family on the weekends. During high school, as a way to de-stress, Principal Barbetta did things that interested him such as cooking, swimming, and bike riding on the weekends. In regards to parental concerns, Principal Barbetta uses the same philosophy that his parents embraced. “If you earned the trust of your parents, then they can trust you do to the right thing when hanging out.”