Chelsea High School: A Climate of Success and Stress


Many efforts have been made to reduce stress at our school. However, many of these efforts aren’t based on student needs and are only temporary which renders these efforts ineffective. For example, the reduction of freshmen exams to only elective classes will only push back the inevitable stress from core class exams to sophomore year. Instead of teaching students how to cope with stress in their lives, the CHS administration has chosen to simply try to eliminate one potential source of stress for students. Pushing off the stress doesn’t get rid of it, but instead concentrates it in the following years of high school as students struggle through large exams.

Many elective classes don’t have exams, and most elective classes only last for one trimester which limits the amount of material students have to memorize. The cancellation of freshman exams will only postpone the struggle of dealing with stress and learning how to approach exams. This, in turn, will be a disadvantage for students taking advanced classes that will need to know how to take exams in the future.

There is also much pressure from teachers, coaches, and administration for students to be multi-sport athletes. This pressure creates an unhealthy “Chelsea standard” for students to be overachieving in sports and academics which amounts to much unnecessary stress. Although this pressure is beneficial in some cases, for the case of many high-achieving students, this added pressure is too much. Many high achieving students in sports have to work hard to maintain good grades in their classes and don’t have time to participate in more sports even though they are expected to be multi-sport athletes. Those who achieve high academically need to practice sports more and study hard.

Chelsea students want to have time to be kids and have time to relax. Teachers shouldn’t prioritize achievement at the expense of student mental health.

Last year, a group of evaluators came to our school to review the students and the school in general. They said we were one of the most stressed-out student bodies they have seen. This is why efforts have been made to reduce stress. These attempts, however, aren’t thought through and end up adding to the stress students already face in this very competitive community. A better solution would be to talk to students and ask ways to reduce stress in an effective way. In my Spanish class, we had a discussion over the freshmen exam cancellations, which allowed all thoughts to be heard and considered in a safe and accepting environment. Although pressure and stress can be good to improve our grades and test scores, hence our highly active academic student body, too much pressure can make students not see the point of their work, become less social, and create mental health problems. 

High pressure in sports allows students to achieve undefeated streaks and state champion titles, but the stress can also cause injury and negative team competition. The intense pressure and stress put on students at Chelsea needs to be talked about, otherwise, the mental health of the student body will continue to decline. Achieving is important, but so is living like a kid. We are all children still, and we need to be able to live that way. Discussion is necessary to address these problems and find solutions the majority can agree to, rather than simply neglecting student input and needs.