Why can’t students wake up in the morning?


Elliot Smith

Alan Nealley is the Dean of Student Success at AWHS.

Joey Griffin, freshman

Are you usually on time to school in the morning for your first class? I would say mostly. But there are definitely days where I’m late. 

Why do you think that is? Well, I’m pretty tired in the morning, and I struggle to wake up on time sometimes. Also, [I’m in a] carpool, which can mean I’m late sometimes, and it’s not really my fault.

Do you think most students are late because they are lazy? No. I think a lot of people have trouble waking up on time.

Do you stay up late? Sometimes I stay up late because of homework.


Wolf Haddad, senior (no free period)

Do you often find yourself late to your first class of the day? Yes, I do.

And how often would you say you are late? About 90 percent of the time. 

What is your reason for this tardiness? I don’t have my drivers license quite yet so I’m reliant on my mom for a ride, and she is often late because I have two brothers that she has to take care of. 

Do you stay up late, does it affect your mornings? Not really. A bit, sometimes. I would not relate [my tardiness to sleep deprivation.]

Do you notice that your fellow students are late too? Yes, a good chunk [of them.]

Why do you think that is? I think people don’t get enough sleep, and are also just kind of lazy… I can’t really speak for them, I can only speak for myself. But a lot of people that I know aren’t getting enough sleep because they’re staying up late at night playing video games, doing homework, and watching TV.

Would you attribute it more to schoolwork or a lack of sleep? It’s hard, it’s probably half and half. Especially when you’re a junior, sometimes you have to stay up so late to do homework. When you’re a senior you don’t really have to. The workload kind of mills down unless you’re taking a bunch of AP classes, but I think probably more schoolwork. 

And does it affect you? Not personally this year, but it did last year. Last year, I was not getting enough sleep because of homework [and was late to class because of that].


Alan Nealley, Dean of Student Success 

Has attendance gotten worse since the pandemic? As a teacher, it felt like something changed during the pandemic because students got used to the idea that they could show up to a class on Zoom but have the camera off and not really be engaged. Everything was all distance learning, so they didn’t have the idea that they needed to be in school to be successful. 

What period do you think students are late to the most? It depends. You’ll have a couple target areas of students that have a problem coming to school on time who will be tardy to their first or second periods because those are the ones at the beginning of the day. Other students that have a hard time getting back from Red Hill, because they are engaged in social activities or whatever, will tend to be tardy for 5th or 6th period… Some students are tardy throughout the day, because they’re spending time socializing with friends as opposed to moving towards class when the bell rings. 

Would you say that a lot of the time when students aren’t coming to school, it has to do with personal issues more than laziness, or it’s more of a case by case? If a student is not coming to school there’s a fundamental disconnect between that student and what’s going on with the school. There’s something that they aren’t getting from the school experience. And a lot of times, I don’t think it has a lot to do with them just being lazy. There’s something else that’s missing. 


Mary Solario, junior (free first period)

How does your free first period affect your schedule? I usually sleep in later when I have a free first but it doesn’t affect my other mornings at all.

Are you usually on time to school? Yes, I usually am on time to school. I just have a basic routine, but not anything special.

Do you take rest days from school? Do you think it’s okay to miss classes sometimes? I do think it is okay for people to take rest days when they need to but I personally do not because I don’t want to miss out on class and get behind on assignments.

Do you think school starts too early, or attendance expectations are unrealistic for kids at our school? I think that our school starts at a good time and the attendance expectations are pretty easy to meet.


Nika Arye (sophomore) (free first period)

Are you usually on time to school?

I am usually always on time for school, but sometimes it is harder because I don’t like showing up early and going to classes I don’t like. I don’t want to show up to school, but I force myself to get up anyway.

Are there some days that are harder for you to show up than others?

It is harder for me to show up to school on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays because those are the days I don’t have my free period. It’s easier for me to show up to school when I do have it because my free period is my first class. On days I do have my free period, I sleep in because I’m very tired in the morning.

Do you stay up late?

I don’t stay up late usually, but if I do, it is because of homework. It never really affects my mornings.

Do you think school starts too early? Why do you think kids show up to school late? 

I think school starts way too early, and if kids have trouble showing up to school, it’s most likely because of mental health reasons.