Let’s Get Down to Business

Certain critics, who will remain unnamed, have criticized my criticisms as nonspecifically critical. “What exact change do you want to see, Lorenzo?” they ask me. Everything, I want to answer, but there’s no time. Now, there is. I’ll be leaving Tatler soon, so here, among my final contributions to its pages, I’ll lay out some policy recommendations for the administration. It’s interesting: usually, I sit down for my usual torture brainstorming session and draw a blank. With these recommendations, the opposite happened: they practically poured out of me. I guess that means they were stewing for a long time.


1). Entrée costs should be reduced if portion sizes continue to decrease. And trust me, I’m purposefully using the word continue, because the consensus is definitely that portions have been shrinking since COVID began. I can almost remember teriyaki days…and then the memories are yanked away. Regardless, I understand what’s happening: supply chain contractions and tougher working conditions for the unsung heroes on campus. That’s all well and good. My modest proposal is merely a modest decrease in the price of entrées, to compensate for reduced product. It would allow people with a financial aid allowance (like myself) to supplement with a salad or sandwich without fear.

2). The “no homework during break” rule needs to be codified. Many, perhaps even most, teachers respect the spirit of this rule. At times, every subject has subjected me to work over a break. And not incidental work—there have been projects I couldn’t have finished without using break time. As underclassmen are still adjusting to high school (and largely in-person high school, at that), juniors are beginning their descent unto college Hell, and seniors are grappling with free will, it’s more important than ever to respect students’ latitude. That’s why I’d like to see a formal rule: “teachers may only assign work such that the intervening NON-BREAK TIME is enough to complete it.” With this simple alteration, so much stress could be busted (to use Stud Gov’s terminology).

3). After receiving a recent email from my English teacher, I realized that, if he hadn’t been so thoughtful as to notify me, I wouldn’t have known that work late by two weeks or more metamorphoses (like poor Gregor Samsa) into an in-class essay. How tragic! Maybe tragicomedic. But the point stands: there needs to be a more unified standards system. This could be a document (such as the Student Handbook) where curricula, grading scales, class policies, and departmental protocols. It could also just be a notification structure for students whose class standards are changing. Right now, navigating all of these things is strenuous for Lakeside students. Some of that is unavoidable, but a lot of it can be avoided. The needs of individual teachers and departments are important, but the whole thing can definitely be streamlined.

4). The administration should be less stringent about student proposals. Or, alternatively, the administration should pursue student proposals with more initiative. I was crestfallen when our Student Sponsored Day was canned. Just because there weren’t any formal proposals, we had to trial-run the newly minted Tapas day schedule? We had to have every class? What mayhem! And while I do love mayhem—I actually had a much more fun time on the Tapas day than I expected—it’s not entirely conducive to learning. I understand that the administration can’t get blood from a stone, yet I personally have no idea how to submit a proposal for Student Sponsored Day, nor who’s in charge of it specifically, and I interviewed Stud Gov myself! (Plug: check out the Chatler podcast). Things can be so much easier!

5). For members of the administration, I’ve saved the best for last. Here comes Lorenzo, serial wannabe gadfly, with his tail (do flies have tails?) tucked between his legs. Yes, yes. I can’t help my nature! All this said, here’s the gist: I miss all-school gatherings. We’re really beating COVID up—it’s not even a fair fight at this point—and I recognize everything that’s gone into that effort. With Omicron cases falling, and a general downtrend in caseload and protocols, shouldn’t assemblies be more than possible now? There are benefits to conferring in our advisory spaces; advisories don’t get enough love, at least in my circles. But I do think it brings the whole community together when…the whole community is literally brought together into one room. Shocking, right?Well, those are the proposals! I stand by all of these suggestions with full sincerity. Irony is out; all the cool kids are sincere! And all the cool kids recognize that, precisely because we value our community here at Lakeside, we should critique it, to improve it where we can. These proposals are smaller than some I’ve much more brazenly suggested. Yet I believe they could have a substantial positive impact on the quality of the education of everyone here. And I do mean everyone. As Bernie Noe has shown us, no matter who you are, you learn from Lakeside. By the same token, let Lakeside learn from you.