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WCHS is known to be a high pressure, high achieving school. Being highly ranked comes with high test scores and other academic achievements that have set the bar high.
“There are families that move specifically into the WCHS community because of the reputation that we have.” WCHS Principal Brandice Heckert said.
The constant competition in the classroom makes it so every student strives to do their best. Many students will choose to take multiple AP (Advanced Placement) classes, courses intended for college students, which adds to the workload of the average student, making their schedule even more challenging.
“WCHS is a very intense school because there are so many tough classes,” sophomore Sam Bunten said. “Every year students are pushed to take very difficult classes which can cause a lot of stress. Most students at WCHS take all honors classes which is really uncommon for high schools.”
In addition to all of the academic responsibilities, many upperclassmen begin planning for college and prepare for tests like the SAT and ACT.
“I do feel the academic pressures at WCHS all the time,” junior Isabella Caraballo said. “Especially as a junior, everybody is competing for the same top colleges and it gets really stressful. Everyone tries to take the hardest classes, do a million extracurriculars, study for the ACT and get straight As.”
Many students deal with the stress of the high pressure in positive ways like studying extra hard for a test or going in at lunch to ask teachers extra questions. Other students take a different route: being academically dishonest. Recently, cheating at WCHS has become a serious issue.
“The cheating culture at WCHS is really bad,” Caraballo said. “It inflates grades and makes a 4.0 meaningless. It also will be a wake-up call in college when you can’t cheat anymore and don’t know how to learn on your own.”
Recently, a student took out his cellphone during an 80 point AP NSL (National, State and Local Government) test, and took a photo of the test and continued to share it with friends. After the teachers found out about this, all test scores were canceled and every student taking AP NSL had to retake the test.
“It’s disappointing when something like this happens, especially when it has the ability to impact more than one person,” Heckert said.
Even though it may be tempting to listen as your friends talk about a test, there are many ways to be just as successful on your own. Teachers make themselves a great resource by often being available for students before and after school, as well as during lunch and by providing their email in case a student needs help.
Many different WCHS students have their own studying tactics, sitting down for hours on end can be challenging.
“To balance stress and hard work I constantly take breaks during homework and studying,” Bunten said. “If I try to work on something for too long I won’t get any good work done so if I take breaks I can get better work done and I will be less stressed.”
It can be hard to balance the stress of school with maintaining a social life. Many students prioritize their work, but also make sure they make time for enjoyable activities outside of school.
“To balance stress and hard work I usually just try to do my best in the time that I’m willing to spend on every subject,” Caraballo said. “I feel like after I study for a certain amount of time for something I’m either going to know it or I’m not and I just give myself a break. I never skip concerts or hanging out with my friends for school and I try to not compare myself to everybody else.”