Arena of Debate

By Seth Hodges
Features Editor


Both of my years at Mercersburg Academy, I have been required to visit Washington D.C. with my English class in order to watch a play at the Arena Stage. Both years I have been assaulted by the same feelings when notified that my entire Sunday will be occupied with this trip. I am always quite irritated that our teachers require us to take time out of a precious weekend to see a performance that has very little to do with whatever we are learning at the time. I also speak for a fair amount of my classmates when I share this opinion. “I really don’t understand why we go, especially considering that we didn’t read the book that the play was based on. I liked the play, but I don’t understand why we need to go,” said Colby Walker ’19. Despite this, I do not completely oppose the idea behind these school trips.

Firstly, it must be noted that students are given compensation classes during to make up for the lost time on Sunday, which sweetens the deal a considerable amount. Also, while I may not read the exact book for class, the story of the play relates considerably to the themes of the course. My English teacher Frank Betkowski said: “The themes that are rendered in the plays dovetail with the themes of the course.”

However, beside that, I believe it is important for us, the students, to occasionally participate in activities off campus. Speaking from the perspective of someone who lives overseas, and therefore cannot get home easily during long weekends, life on campus can become very monotonous. While I am not advocating for students to leave school every weekend, I believe that it is crucial that we experience an occasional change of scenery either through sports trips, long weekends away, or class trips such as those to Arena Stage

Many students see this experience as a chore, but this could be changed if we were to see it as a chance to get away from school life for even just part of a day and experience a new atmosphere and location. We may not be blessed with an urban setting for our school, but the District of Columbia is a relatively short two hour drive away, a fact that we should be more privy to. If any boarding student complains about having a lack of a close by urban environment, why should they also complain that they are taken to one for free? There is no question that our campus has an incredible design and atmosphere, but too much of anything is a bad thing. A little bit of required fun off campus is not going to hurt anyone; in fact it is more likely to help clear our minds and relieve stress.       


Posted in: Opinion

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