Southworth commuters discuss their
By Lillian Doiron-Wahlstrom, Reporter
The community of Southworth commuters is very small. However, many of the commuters from the Kitsap Peninsula have expressed discontent with the way that their commute is handled by the school, with early mornings and long amounts of time spent just waiting for school to start. Southworth students get to school at about 7:25 a.m. each morning and have almost an hour wait until first bell rings.
“I get up at 5:40 in the morning for an 8:15 start time at school, that’s not ideal,” junior Finn Hawkins said.
Hawkins, a Southworth commuter since middle school, has gotten used to the two boat schedule but has recently found it more difficult.
“These last two years have been a little bit harder,” Hawkins said.
When school start time was pushed up to 8:15 a.m., many Seattle students considered it to be a breath of fresh air to be able to take the 7:40 boat in the morning, but the commute for Southworth students didn’t change despite this new school schedule.
“Last year [Fauntleroy commuters] got on an earlier boat and we both had to sit in school for however long,” Hawkins said. “I just feel like it’s slightly unfair that they’re prioritizing West Seattle commuters over us.”
Despite student frustration, the admin have little control over the ferry schedule.
“The harsh reality is that there’s limited options for what we can and can’t do,” assistant principal John Erickson said. “Part of our calculus for what to shift included everyone and bringing all of the stakeholders and all of the impacts that we could have an understanding of to the table to try and make a solution that would work for the most amount of people.”
Another thing some Southworth commuters faced difficulty with was the shift to SMART before first period.
In an email sent by Principal Danny Rock explaining the change to SMART starting before first period, he outlined the role Southworth commuters played in this decision.
“We looked closely at how we could possibly support our Southworth commuters taking the later boat [8:25 a.m.] instead of the 6:40,” Rock said. “But very unfortunately we are not able to make it work and keep our minimum instructional time required by the state.”
Southworth ferry times are also often cited as being unreliable with few options.
“When we’re on the two-boat and then we go down to a one-boat schedule you end up sitting at the ferry dock sometimes for hours on end,” Hawkins said.
Though the Southworth commute can be inconvenient it still provides opportunities of a great education for Southworth students.
Similarly to Vashon, South Kitsap High School is the only high school in the South Kitsap School District. But the major difference is the amount of people compared to Vashon.
South Kitsap is one of the largest high schools in the state, though it tends to get overlooked due to its nondescript location. Being in Kitsap County, it is often overshadowed by Seattle and the surrounding area.
Many people choose to go to Vashon Island High School instead because of the significantly smaller school size and recently updated building providing what many consider to be a more personalized education.
In the end, many feel that there is no perfect solution to the issue of ferries.
“The unfortunate reality is that we’re instead left in a situation where we have to do the best we can with a very small circle of influence,” Erickson said,“And I wish that that weren’t the case.”