by Nicole Funes
Daily agony: my alarm rings, as I stumble out of bed at 5 a.m. way before the blue jays start to squawk. Shower, dress, quick juice and race five blocks to the bus stop. That run downhill gets my heat beating.
It’s now 6:45 and if I’m lucky I’m on the first of two buses that cross Oakland from East (south) to West (others have to transfer twice). It’s an hour and 20 minute ride and I have to be lucky — the buses have to be on schedule and follow their route without “incident” for me to make it to school on time.
There are a handful of us loyal to the West: we were displaced by gentrification but we identify with West Oakland and its community spirit and “family-like” feel.
Nevertheless, school administrators greet us with curt remarks “Late again?” and stony stares, as though we stopped at the corner store for a chat or overslept.
Anywhere between 12 to 40 students arrive late to school every day, said Will Blackwell, who teaches manhood at McClymonds. Tardiness can affect grades, other teachers said.
It’s clear that we need more sleep and less stress about the commute.
Just look at the newest study: a study by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement showed that later start times for high school students are better. The three-year study involved 9,000 students at eight high schools in three states.
Earlier studies in Minneapolis showed that later start times (and more sleep)produced higher graduation rates.
Even McClymonds students recognize that sleep deprivation affects their school work.
“I’m tired and irritated in the morning,” said Kaya LaForte, a freshman at McClymonds, who is an A student but feels she could do more if she were not so tired.
Part of her problem is the long commute. “It can take an hour or more. The bus driver could be making a lot of stops. Some people might have to take 2 more buses, and BART, then have to walk sometime and then might not make it,” she said.
Like others, she often skips breakfast.
She feels targeted when she comes in late. The response to the bus saga at school: “That’s not an acceptable excuse. You need to leave 5 minutes earlier.”
Sleep affects performance, the study showed. More sleep, researchers found, improves grades and standardized test results.
“We did find that there was statistically significant improvement in their grades in English, math, social studies and science, all the core academic areas,” said Kayla Wahlstrom, director of the University of Minnesota Center and the study’s author. “And we found improvements on standardized tests, like the ACT test.”
The study showed that schools with start times at 7:30 a.m. had just 34 percent of students who reported getting eight or more hours of sleep, while schools with start times of 8:55 a.m. had 66 percent of students getting eight or more hours of sleep.
Wahlstrom also said coaches told her that the athletes were more able to remember plays and could perform better physically with more sleep.
“It’s easier to get up in the morning when you get enough sleep,” said Anthony Beron, a sophomore who played JV football and is a long distance runner. “When you’re rested, you can run faster, longer and compete harder.”
Why I miss San Francisco
Even the new Bay Bridge can’t compete with views from San Francisco
opinion piece by Marlena Younger
I miss the views. Stunning vistas, dotted hills, the blueness of the Bay, Ocean Beach with its limpet shells and sand dollars.
And then there’s the mobility of living in San Francisco: the buses are cheaper and it feels safer, less violent.
On a typical morning on Potrero Hill, I could jump out of bed and race down the street to Potrero Hill Neighborhood House to take a Zumba class. It’s high energy dance with samba music, Latin jazz, Cupid shuffle. Cafés like JB’s Place open in the wee hours. People mill around Safeway on 17th and Potrero street.
My neighborhood in north Oakland (ice city: “we ain’t no squares we polar bears” Mistah Fab) is less lively and more dangerous. There’s a gang injunction that limits the freedom of lots of youths and people in their 20s in your neighborhood.
My job in San Francisco was where I danced — helping people do the homework and teaching hip hop dancing. I combined strong academics — I don’t even have Spanish this year. And although the pay is the same, my after-school job in the East Bay is in San Leandro, an hour and a half from my house.
It’s fun living in north Oakland, but I also miss all of my friends and family, and on top I miss being in the hood. I miss going everywhere and knowing everybody.
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Tagged AC Transit, ice city, latino, Marlena Younger, north oakland, Potrero Hill, San Francisco, San Francisco. McClymonds, summer job, Zumba