Pride Time: Should it be brought back?


Graphic by Max Rubino

Should Wakefield high school bring Pride Time back to the bell schedule?

Max Rubino, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Back in 2016, Wakefield High School (WHS) created a 35-minute block for students to have a remediation period. Pride Time was made because the school wanted to create an effective way for students to get extra help in their classes and increase the school’s graduation rates. Students who had lower than a 75 average were required to go to Pride Time. 

Pride Time, according to the Wakefield Student Parent Handbook from 2019, is an “intervention offered during the school day and is in place for all students.” However, it was initially made for the students who needed help and were struggling in certain areas.

Malik Bazzell is the principal of WHS and contributed to the implementation of Pride Time five years ago.

“Pride Time was made because we wanted a more effective way for students to get extra help other than SMART lunch,” Bazzell said. “SMART lunch was initially created for kids who have things they do after school and transportation issues to seek extra help from teachers and participate in clubs.” 

Even though Pride Time was made specifically for students who were struggling in their classes, many other people took advantage of this opportunity.

“I’m getting more push-back from a precalc student who got a B on their test than a student making a 64 instead of a 75,” Bazzell said. “Pride Time wasn’t built for them, however, it was accessible to them.”

What really happened was it became a social hour for students

— Bazzell

WHS faculty believed SMART lunch was going to be the way to improve student achievement, but that’s not what happened.

“What really happened was it became a social hour for students,” said Bazzell. “Where only nine percent of the students actually utilized SMART lunch on a daily basis and 91 percent were out and about doing whatever.” 

When the pandemic hit, of course, the school could no longer hold Pride Time. One of the main reasons why Bazzell did not want to bring Pride Time back in the 2021-22 school year was because he wanted to slow the spread of COVID.

“I couldn’t have kids packed in the gym, media center, or commons for 35 minutes each day,” Bazzell said. “That would provide more opportunities for students to get sick and for there to be a cluster at Wakefield High School, and that is not what we want.”

The other reason why Bazzell does not want to bring back Pride Time this year is because all high schools in Wake County have to start and end at the same time every day. They also need to have similar bell schedules. 

With Virtual Academy (VA), teachers from different schools teach different students all over the county.

“The classes have to start at the same time every day, and start in a manner where those students are available,” Bazzell said. “For example, a teacher teaching VA could also be teaching at Heritage.”

The third reason why Pride Time is on hold this year is that it wasn’t proven to be as effective in what staff at Wakefield were trying to do. Staff didn’t see any reason to keep it for this year as it would be seen as more of a liability. 

Staff at Wakefield may feel as though Pride Time is no longer necessary, but students highly disagree. 

Miley Perrott is a sophomore at Wakefield High School. While she does not participate in any extracurricular activities, she is able to sympathize with people who do.

“Lots of students are unable to do work at home because of problems at home or extracurricular activities,” Perrot said. “It’s very helpful to have time to finish it. Also, it’s a great time to do make-up tests, get help from your teacher and study for upcoming quizzes and tests.” 

Another thing that has changed with the removal of Pride Time is that almost all of the teachers have their office hours on the same days at the same times. 

Kaitlen Madden is a senior who participates in Future Farmers of America (FFA) and Drama Club. 

“Students struggling with material only have access to extra help during office hours, which take place after school and can be inaccessible to students that ride the bus or have work commitments,” Madden said. “Study hall periods are essential to student success.” 

Pride Time was mainly used by students to socialize. However, it was also helpful for students in recovering their mental health after a long night of homework.

Study hall periods are essential to student success

— Madden

Isabella Waterworth is a junior and also a member of the National Art Honor’s Society. “[Pride Time] helped me decompress for the day and helped me balance school and life by giving me time to work at school,” Waterworth said. “I also got to see friends that I didn’t get to see all day.”

Out of 50 responses from Wakefield students, only two percent of people did not want Pride Time to resurface.

Owen Mcentegart is a freshman who juggles tennis, swimming and band. Even though he has so many activities, he does not believe pride time should come back to Wakefield.

“Most of us freshmen and sophomores have just gotten used to our schedules,” Mcentegart said. “I feel that if we were to add a separate time, it would mess up rotation, class time and schedules.” 

Mcentegart believes that Wakefield should introduce pride time at the beginning of next year, instead of in the middle of this year. 

According to Bazzell, Pride Time has a chance of coming back this school year.

“Depending on COVID metrics, I’m not going to say Pride Time is completely off the table for this year,” Bazzell said. “Whatever it is that we decide to put in place, I want to make sure that it is effective in aiding students in improving their grades.”