Public vs Private Schools

Meredith Strickland and Cassie Nichols, Staff Writers

Go to school.
Walk in.
Go to locker.
Talk with friends.
Arrive at first hour.
As Blue Valley students walk into the building and go to their lockers, Saint Thomas Aquinas students walk into their first hour to pray before announcements.
“We pray at the beginning of school, before every class, sometimes before lunch and at the end of the day,” STA junior Allison Arman said.
At STA, a theology class is required every year. Students learn about God and study their religion of catholicism.
Only having to take the usual core classes, BV students only attend seven hours of school while STA students attend eight hours.
Though STA has more hours, advantages are given to the students when it comes to the end of the semesters.
Each student with a 96 percent or higher is allowed to get a waiver. This waiver exempts them from taking the final.
In BV, most students scramble to find the Roger Hub final calculator website. Finals can affect those grades by having different percentage ratios. Students must take all finals at the end of each semester.
“In our grading system we don’t worry about straight A’s, we worry about getting a 96 percent to be exempt from the final,” Arman said. “Our GPA is measured by our average percentage.”
BV students agree that students should be allowed to be exempt from their finals if they have a 96 percent or higher.
“I wish Blue Valley had that rule, because I would try to maintain a 96 percent instead of just a 90 percent,” junior Blake Berger said. “Not many students want to take finals, so more students will try to get higher grades.”
In the normal BV schedule, Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays include all 7 hours. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, students follow the block schedule with 90 minute class periods.
At STA, Mondays are the only days that include all 8 hours with block schedules for the rest of the week.
One main disadvantage to attending STA is the school uniform. Students at STA cannot express themselves with their regulated uniforms.
“Boys must wear belts, you can’t wear flip flops and you cannot wear outside sweatshirts,” Arman said. “If you don’t follow these rules you get a uniform notice or a detention.”
BV students also agree that not having uniforms helps express their personalities by wearing different clothes.
“I would not want a uniform because I would have to change for cross country everyday,” Berger said. “I also want to be able to dress comfortably during the day while I am learning.”
Some BV students think it would be helpful at times to have a school uniform.
“It would be easier in the morning to not have to worry about what to wear to school,” BV sophomore Madison Doherty said. “I would be able to sleep in more if I didn’t have to pick out all of my clothes for the day.”
Students at STA are aware of their stereotypes mainly from the clothes they wear to school. Students admit that they are seen as rich, preppy kids who are sheltered.
Private schools cost money even though public schools are free which makes it harder to pay for everything else in ones life. Students may appear preppy, but the uniform consisting of polo shirts and nice pants, or skirts, is a requirement for their school.
“It’s expensive and not every family has money for it, and it’s hard to be unique because we have to wear uniforms,” Arman said.
Many students come from different places spread out among Olathe, Lenexa, Overland Park and Leawood. Friends at Aquinas have to travel to the different areas just to hang out with simple school friends.
Other students at STA also have their own stereotypes about BV students.
“We all see them as kids who have a lot more freedom and get away with doing things that they shouldn’t,” Arman said.
There may be more freedom with the outfits that BV students wear, but common rules still apply to both. Students from both schools are expected to be on time to their classes and try their best during class.
Other disadvantages to going to a private school is the possible drug and alcohol testing.
“If STA were to have a random drug and alcohol testing, they would take 30 pieces of hair for texting,” Arman said.
BV does have search dogs come in to investigate on the students’ lockers when nobody is there to make sure the school is staying safe. At both schools, smart and safe decisions have to be taken into account to keep everybody out of trouble when it comes to illegal substances.
The smaller STA school appreciates their size with the different relationships. Teachers can focus more on each student personally to keep grades in check and make sure they are achieving academic goals.
Unlike BV, Aquinas is gifted with a small class when parking for school.
“It’s not hard to park close because there aren’t as many cars,” Arman said.
With the BV parking lot, spaces are very small and the aisles are too small for many cars.
“The parking lot at Blue Valley is a big issue,” Doherty said. “There aren’t enough spots for everybody at the school and having to park on the gravel is annoying. Not many sophomores enjoy walking a mile to get inside in the heat, rain or snow.”
One problem with being such a small school at STA is the sport games. In football, Arman said comments have been given to them about how quiet they are during games.
“At our home games people comment about how quiet we are, partially because we have less people,” Arman said. “And when we start losing, everyone just stands there instead of cheering them on.”
The students do enjoy their school spirit during pep assemblies and spending time together.
“I’d rather go to STA because of the community and school spirit we have,” STA junior Dan Geist said. “But we don’t have nearly as many students compared to the 6A public schools when we play in football.”
Other than being fans and acquaintances at school, the school stays close together.
“I love how much of a family Aquinas is,” STA junior Anna Biggins said.
BV students also express much love to each other. In the BV community, everybody is nice to each other and cares for each other.
“As a school, we all come together as a family,” Doherty said. “At assemblies we all get along and bond really well together, except for the class chant because sophomores always try to beat the seniors.”
At games, BV gets fired up for all of our different teams. Football fans come out to the games and cheer their hearts out for the Tigers in hopes of a win. Basketball fans at BV stand on their feet throughout the game to keep the players pumped up.
“BV fans are always fired up during games,” BV freshman Lexi Palacio said. “We don’t need any direction, especially with the large amount of people who attend the games.”
Another project that STA students are allowed to participate in are mission trips. BV students do not get the opportunity to go on mission trips. BV does have a Kay Club that sets up different field trips and community service projects.
STA mission trips are over the summer traveling projects. Last year students had the option to go to San Juan, TX to help the community down there.
“Mission trips are awesome at our school,” Biggins said. “Each grade has a different location they go to. Freshman year, I went to Joplin to help people clear out their houses and rebuild from the tornadoes. Sophomore year, I went to New Orleans to build homes for people who were affected from the hurricanes. And junior year, I went to San Juan to help people in poverty build new homes. Next year, the mission trip is a pilgrimage to Rome. My friend Maddie Woolway went to Rome this past year and she told me she really enjoyed, so I am really excited.”
Multiple BV students agreed that if the school offered a mission trip they would join to help out different communities around the country.
“I think it would be really cool if Blue Valley offered a mission trip over the summer,” Doherty said. “I would love to travel with my friends to different places to help others. It would be a great bonding experience for different students.”
Many of the STA students came from the middle school Saint Michael’s Archangels.
“I have always gone to a Catholic school and it’s just what I’m used to,” Arman said. “It’s a smaller environment so it’s easy to get to know your class better.”
BV and STA are very different schools. At both, students get along with each other and build relationships together.
“One of my best friends goes to Blue Valley,” Biggins said. “We always bicker with each other about which school is better, but it’s always funny. We agreed that Aquinas has a cool final system but BV has a lot of school spirit.”