Seniors Deserve a Break

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Spring Break trips have been a tradition for seniors here in Scarsdale. Some view it as a rite of passage and others see it as a time to let loose free from the pressure of homework or college admissions. Either way, all the seniors know that their time at Scarsdale High School is running out and many want to mark this milestone with a celebration.

Seniors often go to beach destinations – the Bahamas in particular. Part of the appeal of the Bahamas is that the legal drinking age there is 18, so seniors who are of age can drink. The seniors who are underage usually find a way around it because rules are more relaxed in the Bahamas. The Bahamas embrace the influx of seniors and has clubs to attract them, increasing the appeal of the Bahamas as a Spring Break destination. However, the relaxed nature of the Bahamas isn’t really safe. Some seniors get caught up in the excitement and get out of control, make mistakes, and get in trouble. School Administrators highlight these few cases in an attempt to dissuade parents from permitting their kids go on Spring Break.

While a few get out of control, the majority of seniors manage to make good decisions and still have fun. The quintessential senior Spring Break doesn’t necessarily have to include going to the Bahamas, tanning by day, and getting so drunk you make bad decisions at night. In fact, only a very small percentage of the nearly half the senior class who went on a Spring Break vacation got into trouble.

This April, when seniors grudgingly returned to school after vacation, people reacted to this year’s set of unfortunate events from Spring Break. The call for “alternative Spring Break” has emerged, where seniors would do a service project instead of hitting the clubs and the beach. Critics of Spring Break argue that the time and money spent on trips where bad behavior occurs would be better directed to a positive, fun, and rewarding community service experience. While I think that’s a great idea, I don’t think advocates of alternative Spring Break can expect that seniors will drop the idea of relaxing on the beach and enjoying piña coladas in favor of a community service alternative. It’s not likely that beach trips will be abandoned because underclassmen look forward to the day when it will be their turn to board the plane to the beach.

That being said, critics of the out-of-control Spring Break trips should start with a more subtle approach – encouraging those who decide on beach destinations to pick a safer area, perhaps Florida, and encourage kids to keep the focus on relaxing and enjoying the company of friends rather than drinking. There are so many seniors who went to the Bahamas or Florida and stayed in control that it is not fair for critics of Spring Break to say that all Spring Break trips end in trouble or mistakes.

Spring Break trips can really go two ways. Students can drink too much and get in trouble or, the break can be a time to relax, free of the pressure of college admission and the competition at Scarsdale High School. Most trips are the latter and only a few abuse the privilege and get out of control.

I believe that seniors deserve a break after four years of hard work, demanding teachers and schedules. Letting loose on Spring Break doesn’t have to mean abusing alcohol. Seniors can still go to the beach, get tan, enjoy the occasional strawberry daiquiri and enjoy some innocent fun.

Melissa Tucker is a sophomore at Scarsdale High School