Passing Keystones can earn rising seniors time out of school


Evelyn Esek

Baldwin High School serves the Baldwin, Whitehall, and Baldwin Township communities.

A new reward program will let rising seniors arrive at school late or leave early next year if they have passed all of their Keystone tests.

The program is being offered to rising seniors who earn proficient or advanced scores on their Keystone exams in English, algebra, and biology. If these students have a first or eighth period study hall next year, they will not have to be in the school building for it, as long as they submit a form required for participation in the program.

School officials are hoping the program will motivate underclassmen to take Keystones seriously.

With arena scheduling dropped for the 2023-2024 school year, students cannot leave a designated spot for a study hall during specific periods. Instead, interested students must talk to a counselor in the next few months to have one added for first or eighth period. 

School officials are hoping the program will motivate underclassmen to take Keystones seriously. 

“It would be an opportunity to reward students who have worked hard and have passed all of their Keystone exams,” counselor Noel Santini said.

Administrators also are hoping this new program will help seniors feel more positive throughout the school day because they will be looking forward to spending one less period in school.

“We want to avoid seniors only taking four classes and then sitting in three study halls a day. If one of those is going to turn into a late arrival and that’s going to make them more productive throughout the day, I say that’s a win,” Acting Vice Principal Dr. Dan Harrold said. 

Seniors taking the first-period study hall option would get the chance to sleep later, which could be especially helpful for those busy with jobs, sports or clubs after school. 

Sophomore Leyton Yokopenic looks forward to participating in the program in his senior year for the extra rest.

“Most kids don’t get enough sleep anyways,” he said. 

Junior Emma Lieu is interested in taking the opportunity to leave early next year.

“By the end of the day, I’ll have all my school work done, and I study better at home,” she said.

Yet not all rising seniors will choose to participate in the program. Some say they are too involved academically to miss a class period of school. 

“I feel like it’s good for some students, but it doesn’t really apply to me since my schedule for next year is full of courses,” junior Ali Bououdina said. 

Santini hopes students will choose classes that they believe will benefit their futures instead of opting for the study hall.

“If there is a class that you absolutely want to take or feel like you should take for your future, then that’s the class you should be in,” Santini said. “ If it falls during period one or period eight, then we encourage you to be here for that class.”