The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

Save my brain and start school later

Matthew Malloy ‘25
This should be our school’s start time.

Your teenage brain is being treated unfairly. 

Adolescents are supposed to get at least eight hours of sleep a day. For most high school students, this isn’t a problem as they don’t have to travel too far to get to school in the morning. 

But at Mount Carmel, this isn’t the case. Caravan students, teachers, and faculty pride themselves on traveling long distances to get to 6410 S. Dante, but many have to wake up very early and are usually weary throughout the entire day. Other high schools around the country are pushing back their start times, so why can’t MC? 

Mount Carmel has kids that travel from all over the Chicago metropolitan area. Crown Point, Orland Park, Chicago Heights, and Valparaiso are just a few of the many places students travel long distances to get to school everyday.   

“I live around an hour away,” says Valparaiso resident and junior Jairo Acuña. 

Jairo Acuña ’25 is one of several students who travels long distances to get to school everyday. (Matthew Malloy ‘25)

“I wish it was easier, but obviously I come here for a purpose to become a better man and succeed in the sports I play.”

Now that Acuña is an upperclassman, he and his friends carpool to school. But it wasn’t always this way. 

“Freshman year was the worst. I had to wake up at 4:45 a.m. to get to a bus stop that was still a half hour from my house.” 

Acuña, a wrestler, was also a part of the 2022 State Championship Caravan team during his freshman year. He said that there were days when he would have to wake up at 4:45 a.m. and not get home from practice until 7 p.m. 

“I was waking up real early that year,” says Acuña. 

If Mount Carmel were to push back the 8:05 start time, this would mean he could have woken up after 5 a.m. but probably wouldn’t have gotten home until 8 p.m. He said this wouldn’t be a problem because he would still have time to get his homework done and would have a better chance of getting at least 8 hours of sleep on a daily basis. 

Acuña isn’t the only person in favor of talking about moving back our start time. 

Principal Scott Tabernacki said he and his team would definitely be open to look into starting later than 8:05 a.m. 

“I think it’s worthwhile to look at,” says Mr. Tabernacki.

Principal Scott Tabernacki is open to pushing back our start time. (Matthew Malloy ‘25)

Currently at Mount Carmel almost every Wednesday starts at 9:05 a.m. This extra hour was implemented for teacher meetings, but has since helped students and teachers get through the week. 

“I think it helps in having that extra hour,” says Mr. Tabernacki. “It’s a nice break for everybody.” 

If Mount Carmel were to push back the start time, the late start on Wednesdays would no longer be a break, but would actually be the norm for students, teachers, and faculty. 

Mrs. Jennifer Smola on the other hand, isn’t sold on the idea. 

“My students are always sleeping in class,” notes the MC Math Department Chair, “but it doesn’t matter if we have a late start or not.”

While Mrs. Smola doesn’t totally support a daily later start, she does see why it could benefit students. She points out that traffic would be an issue no matter what time we started. 

“I think getting up when it’s not dark out is a little bit easier. I like the idea of starting at 9:05 a.m., but I come from Indiana and leaving at either 6:50 a.m. or 7:50 a.m. is horrendous.” 

However, Mr. Tabernacki notes that traffic might not impact as many students as in the past. “There’s far fewer students driving themselves these days,” he says. “There’s more carpools and students taking the train.” 

This would make it easier to push back the 8:05 a.m. start, and would also help students arrive on time with a full 8 hours of sleep. 

While some might say moving back our start time is a bad thing because we would have to get out later in the day, this wouldn’t be a problem. According to the Sleep Foundation, teenagers should get 8-10 hours of sleep a week and most teens don’t get tired until around 11 p.m. This means that if students got out at 3:40, they would still have time to participate in extracurricular activities, go home, and do their homework before they got tired. 

Schools across the country are pushing back their start times because of studies done by professionals, and the issues of sleep and transportation. Mount Carmel needs its students, teachers, and faculty members to be on time and awake. Pushing back the 8:05 a.m. start would do just that. 

Story continues below advertisement
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Matthew Malloy ‘25
Matthew Malloy ‘25, Staff Writer
Matthew Malloy is a junior at Mount Carmel High School. He resides in the Southside of Chicago in the Beverly neighborhood and attended St. John Fisher Elementary School. Matt is currently a member of the student council, The Merchant, varsity golf team, varsity volleyball team, and the Caravan Media Group in which he is the play by play announcer for all home football and basketball games. As for academics, Matt is in the top 10 for the class of 2025. He first gained interest for journalism by watching ESPN’s College GameDay and reading The Beverly Review. His favorite sports commentators are Dick Vitale, Gus Johnson, Ray Clay, and Jim Nantz. As for favorite sports teams, Matt likes the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bulls, Manchester United F.C., Chicago Bears, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and his favorite golfers are John Daly, Bryson DeChambeau, and Collin Morikawa. His favorite band is the Red Hot Chili Peppers and his favorite album is The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd. Matt’s favorite movies are Goodfellas and Asteroid City while The Office, Freaks and Geeks, and Friday Night Lights are his favorite TV shows. He and his cousins are continuing the tradition and legacy of the O’Connor family at Mount Carmel as he is the nephew of Dan O’Connor ‘95 and grandson of Frank O’Connor ‘61 and Kathy O’Connor, who works in the spirit store and is an avid supporter of Mount Carmel.