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The Mirador

Sophomores Take to the Streets

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Photo: Kendall Roberts

Photo: Kendall Roberts

Photo: Kendall Roberts

Kendall Roberts, Staff Writer

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Sophomore Julia Kadie hadn’t planned to receive her license five months late. However, with limited free time, the drawn-out process of Driver’s Ed was an impossibility. “I’d love to finish Driver’s Ed, but my classes are too time-consuming,” she said.  School work and sports had taken over.

As the year has progressed, more and more sophomores have taken to the streets, finally receiving the sought after slip of paper promising freedom. From late night Taco Bell runs to excursions to Walnut Creek, sophomores are enjoying this drastic life change. For the first time in their lives, these students are able to break away from their parents, joining the upperclassmen in their ventures.

However, many sophomores seem to be putting off the process of receiving their licenses. Classes and deadlines overshadow students’ need for freedom, resulting in many sophomores receiving their licenses late. Instead of running around town, heading to a friend’s house, or even taking the occasional trip to San Francisco, many students still are asking their parents to drive them to school in the morning.

“I can’t drive, so sometimes when my friends are doing something, I can’t participate. I feel like my social life is hindered,” said sophomore Atahan Kilicote.

According to a 2013 article by the Washington Post, the number of teens receiving licences isn’t just dropping at Miramontethis is a trend all over the U.S., with rates continuing to fall into the low 30th percentile. In a 2013 poll by USA Today, it was shown that more than 50 percent of teens cited issues such as a busy schedule, or the thousands of dollars necessary for a teen to begin driving. With insurance rates rising, and car prices exorbitantly high, teens are shifting away from driving, putting off the drawn-out process for as long as possible.

However, here at Miramonte, financial reasons are not usually the cause of avoiding this rite of passage. The reality is that the high-achieving culture at Miramonte has pushed students into filling their schedules with activities colleges deem ‘worthwhile,’ such as community service or additional classes. Unfortunately, driving often doesn’t quite make this list, and so, time after time, it is shunted out of the way to make room for alternate activities.

Sophomore Annabel Lee definitely concurs. “School will always take first priority in Miramonte students. If I had the choice between studying for my driver’s test, and taking more difficult classes, it’s obvious which one I would choose,” Lee said. “Driving is a luxury. School is a necessity.”

Meanwhile, a select number of sophomores have already beat the odds, having received their licenses. After struggling through Driver’s Ed, and braving six long months of hands-on experience, they can finally be seen shakily driving around town. According to sophomore Will Shain, this is definitely an improvement. “Driving has allowed me to go wherever I want whenever I want. It’s the peak of my social life so far, and I love it,” he said.

Along with the freedom associated with being licensed comes increased dangers. An example of this is shown in the dreaded ‘One-year Law,’ which dictates that drivers under the age of 18 cannot drive anyone under the age of 20 for 12 months following licensing. Rather than waiting for the longest year of their lives to pass, many sophomores are simply ignoring these laws. They choose instead to drive friends before their year has passed, braving the risk of arrest. With friends who have yet to receive licences, many students see this as their only option. “Kids will always want to break the rules if you give them a taste of freedom. They’ll always want more. Breaking the rules is a byproduct of free will,” said a Miramonte student who declined to be named. Sophomores will continue to face these new challenges, though many will continue to put off this rite of passage.

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Miramonte High School's Newspaper
Sophomores Take to the Streets