Because taking a language is a graduation requirement and we only have one language course offered in person at Orcas Island High School, Spanish classes, especially levels one and two, are in high demand. That being said, OIHS is still a small school, and we only have one Spanish teacher. Consequently, classes often get quite full. This year, the fifth period Spanish 1 class has around 30 students, mostly freshmen and sophomores. This is already a large class, but the real issue is not the behavior of the rowdy freshman students, but their effect on the temperature, air quality, and humidity of the room they inhabit.
The Spanish room, located at the far end of the upstairs hallway, is notoriously hot already. It is no secret that the erratic heating systems of our school, while technically doing their duty, leave some rooms frigid, and others stifling. This classroom falls victim to the latter, and while catering to a few students’ strangely constant sense of cold, it leaves the majority of the student body hot, sweaty and uncomfortable. It is unquestionable that this room is at least five degrees warmer than the hallway outside at all times, even with the windows cracked and the door ajar.
The addition of this class’ 40 or so students only adds to the temperature, bringing it to around ten degrees warmer than the school-wide average. As in any environment, as the temperature rises, so does any aroma previously present or brought in by an influx in population. Unfortunately, the scent of around 50 underclassmen is not a pleasant one. Whether it is the stress of an immersive Spanish class or the overall anxiety of the school day, there is an excessive amount of sweat produced by the students in this class, and mixed with a concerning lack of deodorant, this causes the room to have an unpleasant residual smell.
This issue is especially impactful on Mondays and Fridays because there is little passing time between classes. Twice a week, as the AP Spanish class watches 60 plus underclassman stream out of the classroom, they dread the moment when they must enter. In response to her AP students’ complaints, Profa Becca Parish remarked that she cannot smell anything. This demonstrates the tragic numbness caused by overexposure, and is not a debunking argument, but instead a cry for help.
This issue has gotten to the point that upon entering the room, many of the AP students, astonished by the 15 or 20 degree increase in temperature, would rather suffer the harsh draft of open windows in the winter than sit in the stagnant smell of the freshmen.
Others, upon entrance, begin to search for a dead body. One student was overheard saying that “something must’ve died in here,” as they could not find another reasonable explanation for the scent.
I would like to make it clear that I am not blaming the school for their unreliable heating system, Profa Parish for her obviously stress-inducing lessons, or even the underclassmen for their foul residue (although an increase in deodorant usage would be much appreciated). The purpose of this article is instead to caution the student body as a whole of the importance of proper hygiene, as well as to provide a written reminder that windows are there for a reason, and to please open them if the temperature reaches an extreme. I would also like to issue a preemptive admonition that spraying Axe body spray over yourself, your friends, or the classroom is not a substitute for deodorant, and instead will only draw more attention to your pubescent stench.