The value of opinions

Connor Simpkins ’25

The Campus Opinions section of The Index has touched on many topics this year. Students have passionately articulated their positions on different topics, from Fourth Former Arsh Aggarwal encouraging a more unified upper school community to Sixth Former Colin Stewart highlighting the challenges of the late lunch block. Fifth Former Joey Kauffman advocated for clearer school policies around technology and privacy, while Sixth Former Ryan Rodack raised awareness about the challenges of student parking. Every month students had much to say about life at our school.

There is no doubt that diversity of opinions is important. We all want to be at a school where we have the agency to write about issues in our community, issues we feel strongly about. And many student voices provide context and perspective; they let us view our community through a wider lens.

Opinion articles can be challenging to write.  One must strike a balance between thoughtful insight and privileged complaint. At a school as well-resourced as Haverford, it can be hard to justify every complaint. While we should always strive to improve our community, it is equally important to acknowledge what is going well within the walls of the school. And so, as we close out the year, let’s end with gratitude.

In quick and informal conversations with classmates, I asked for opinions about what went well this year and what my classmates were grateful for. I heard a story about a teacher who helped with a late submission for an extra-credit project, an art teacher who came in early so that a project could be finished so an after-school sports practice didn’t get missed, and dining hall staff that let a student buy breakfast even though the dining hall was technically closed.

Students study together in the library – Joey Kauffman ’23

A librarian helped a student find one vital, yet elusive resource; the office staff held onto a gym bag forgotten in the rounders for a week; a coach gave a key word of encouragement at just the right moment; an English teacher helped with a dreaded public speaking assignment; a security guard, with a nod and a wink, looked the other way so a small group of guys could sneak into a sold-out game.

It took little effort to learn about all the small ways things went right this year, all the ways students were grateful for the Haverford school community.

In his September 2021 opinion piece “We need a more unified upper school this year,” Fourth Former Arsh Aggarwal wrote, “We come to school because of the experiences we have with each other—not only as a class but as an entire upper school.” 

As we end the year, these words ring especially true; it is the experiences we had with one another that, in fact, made it a great year.