Lukas Werner

Eight upperclassmen shared their experiences juggling academics and activities outside of school.

Humans of La Salle: Upperclassmen Weigh In On Balancing Academics and Extracurriculars

October 6, 2021

Due to COVID-19, this year’s junior and senior classes are the only remaining students who were able to experience pre-pandemic life at La Salle. With all students currently attending full-time in-person classes, all of La Salle’s activities are starting to look more and more normal.

In an effort to help guide La Salle’s underclassmen as they continue to transition into an educational environment resembling pre-pandemic school, La Salle upperclassmen reflected on their experiences balancing school and extracurricular activities. 


Lukas Werner

“I recommend taking your easy classes like art and PE your early years so you don’t have to them junior and senior year,” said Dayne Lavoie, AP student and part of the La Salle football team.

Dayne Lavoie

Dayne Lavoie, junior, is both a member of the football team and an employee of TJ Maxx.

Lavoie’s football practices typically take up three to four hours of his day. Practice starts at 3:30 p.m. and goes to 6:30 p.m., but he’s there as late as 7:30 p.m. most of the time. “We have to do stuff after, clean up, go to the training room sometimes if you get hurt,” he said. 

Lavoie’s job at TJ Maxx occupies about 20 hours of his week. His shifts are spread across Saturdays, Sundays, and one weekday of his work’s choosing. 

“I typically prioritize doing schoolwork before other free time stuff, like watching movies,” he said. 

Lavoie’s tips for success include “not [waiting] to the last minute to do things,” he said. “Plan your stuff out, don’t wait.” 

Lavoie recommends that underclassmen take their “easy classes like Art and PE your early years, so you don’t have to worry about them your junior and senior years,” he said. “So you can focus more on harder classes, you have more free time.”


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Senior Daniel Hartson’s schedule is filled with rigorous courses including Multi-variable Vector Calculus, AP Chemistry, AP Spanish 5, and AP English 4. His most challenging course has to be “AP Chemistry, just because of the technical knowledge that it requires and the amount of studying I have to do,” Hartson said.

Daniel Hartson

Daniel Hartson, a senior at La Salle, is a member of the boys varsity soccer team, an employee at Krispy Kreme, and a part of the Metropolitan Youth Symphony. 

His soccer practices are five days a week, and ranges from two to three hours long. That means that soccer alone takes up 10 to 15 hours of Hartson’s week. 

He typically works shifts at Krispy Kreme two days out of the week, and works about eight hours on each of those days. On top of all that, the Metropolitan Youth Symphony takes up about three hours each Saturday.

Hartson’s schedule is filled with rigorous courses including Multi-variable Vector Calculus, AP Chemistry, AP Spanish 5, and AP English 4. His most challenging course has to be “AP Chemistry, just because of the technical knowledge that it requires and the amount of studying I have to do,” Hartson said.

He’s currently not taking any electives, however he is “still looking for a teacher’s assistant opportunity as I have an open slot for both this semester and next semester,” he said.

As for homework, on a regular weekday “I spend two, maybe two and a half hours depending on if I have a test coming up that I have to study for, or if I have any projects to do,” he said. 

On the weekend, “it’s split up across three days, maybe like half an hour, an hour not normally too much,” he said. 

To accommodate his busy schedule, Hartson tries to find every spare moment he can to fit in work time. In order for Hartson to find time to do homework, he finds himself “working on homework sort of in the cracks, like late at night or early in the morning, or just whenever I actually have free time,” he said. “It means I sort of have to compromise in that way, and do it in short increments rather than all at once.”

Juggling school, soccer, symphony, and work, Hartson said that being overwhelmed is something that actually happens “all the time, every day,” he said.

“There’s also times where I’ll find that one activity or commitment actually encroaches on another,” he said. “One time I had to work an eight hour shift at Krispy Kreme and I had a game after. And I think that affected, you know, my performance in the game as well.”

When things like this happen, “I just push through it and plan better in those times, try to eat better, you know, get more sleep, so that doesn’t happen,” he said. 

For underclassmen, Hartson suggests getting an early start “even if you don’t get it done immediately after it’s assigned, just try not to procrastinate,” he said. “Also, have a good idea of what’s due without even having to look at it, just so you know where you’re at each day.”

As for managing time, Hartson suggests that students make sure they’re thinking about “every assignment, [and] you don’t let anything slip through, because once one thing slips through that’s when normally, it gets a lot more challenging,” he said. “You have this snowball effect.”


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Junior Catie Tassinari suggests that students “have an open communication with your teachers, [and] utilize your classmates, ” she said. “Be willing to ask questions, because it really only benefits you and your understanding.”

Catie Tassinari

Catie Tassinari, a junior at La Salle, is a member of the varsity volleyball team, a member of executive council, and on top of all of that, she works at Target for 10 to 15 hours a week.

Tassinari is taking rigorous courses this year, including AP Biology, AP Calculus, AP U.S History, AP English, and Honors Spanish III. She said that her most challenging class would have to be AP Calculus “just because it takes a lot of time outside of class to understand it,” she said. 

Tassinari said that in taking these courses the homework load can be brutal, and that she spends around one to two hours on homework every day of the week. To make her homework  less daunting, she “tries to split it up during the day, so I’ll do homework in the morning, or after school, and then after volleyball,” Tassinari said. 

Although Tassinari still gets overwhelmed with her load of schoolwork, she feels it’s “been easier to manage with the block schedule days, just because I’ll have that extra day in between to get the next assignment done,” she said.

For success in school, Tassinari encourages others to keep “looking at the positive side of it,” she said. “For me, I look at it as I might not enjoy doing that schoolwork so much, but I like coming to school to see my friends. I like having classes with people to talk to, for work [and] volleyball. It’s something that I enjoy, so it doesn’t feel so much as a chore. So it’s a lot easier to manage.”

As for underclassmen, she suggests that they “definitely have an open communication with your teachers, utilize your classmates, [and] do homework together,” she said. “Going to school early to talk to your teachers if you’re struggling with something. Be willing to ask questions, because it really only benefits you and your understanding.”


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“I think scheduling out your time is really important,” said Ava Whalon, an AP student who additionally is a part of La Salle’s choir and theater departments.

Ava Whalon

Ava Whalon is a senior at La Salle, where she is involved in both the theater program and the choir program.  

Right now, Whalon is preparing for La Salle’s fall quasi musical Alice in Wonderland, where she will be playing Alice. Currently, Whalon and the rest of the theater department are rehearsing two to three days a week, with each rehearsal lasting around two hours.

For her final year at La Salle, Whalon decided to challenge herself to a trickier course load. Her schedule included AP English 4, AP U.S. Government, and Anatomy & Physiology. “I’m enjoying them, but it is a lot of work,” she said.

During the school week, Whalon said that she is spending about one to two hours a night on homework. When it comes to getting assignments done she’s “pretty fast and efficient with it,” she said, which she feels is helpful when she has so many other things going on. 

On the weekends, Whalon said that her homework load doubles, leaving her roughly three hours of homework to complete.

A suggestion she has for underclassmen at La Salle is to plan out when to get their homework done. “I think scheduling out your time is really important and works for me,” she said. “By setting aside time to do homework instead of procrastinating, you won’t feel as overwhelmed and will have more time to enjoy your extracurriculars.”


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During the school week, Houghton gets “an hour and thirty minutes of homework on an average day,” she said.

Kamryn Houghton

Kamryn Houghton, a junior at La Salle, is a proud member of the dance team and also spends a majority of her time outside of school working at Chipotle.

Right now, Houghton is working 15 to 20 hours a week at Chipotle, which is accompanied by dance team practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays. 

Houghton has a fairly rigorous schedule this year, as she has taken on two AP classes, including English and U.S. History. She said that the classes that are most challenging for her this year are U.S. History and Biology.

During the school week, Houghton gets “an hour and thirty minutes of homework on an average day,” she said. But on weekends, she said she ends up spending double the amount of time trying to get assignments done before Monday. 

Like many other students, Houghton also gets overwhelmed trying to balance her school work and extracurriculars. She said that getting her homework done can be a challenge for her, especially on the weekends. “On the weekends there’s so much I need to do around the house, but also hangout with family and I work on the weekends.” 

A tip that Houghton wishes to share with the underclassman at La Salle is that they should use a planner. “At my old school we were required to have a planner,” she said. “It kind of implemented a good habit in me.” Houghton explained that by using her planner and writing lists she has become much more organized.


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Kaufman has learned that splitting up her time — working at night and then in the morning — works best for her, instead of trying to get it all done late at night.

Marieka Kaufman

Junior Marieka Kaufman is a part of the cross country team and volunteers at an assisted living facility. During the school week, she has cross country practice Monday through Friday for “a bit over an hour and a half,” she said. 

Of all four AP classes, Kaufman has taken on for her junior year, “calculus is the hardest, honestly,” she said.

Kaufman said that her homework load throughout the school week can vary and that it depends on the day. “Sometimes I can have an assignment in every single class, and other times maybe for the next day I only have like two assignments,” she said. 

And on the weekends, her homework load can also differ — sometimes she will only have about four assignments, other times “practically every class will have an assignment.” 

Despite her tightly packed schedule, including cross country, volunteer work, and school, “it’s not too bad,” Kaufman said in regard to her stress level. “For some reason, spring is where I really feel overwhelmed.

During the second week of her junior year, Kaufman said that she experienced a big amount of stress due to a combination of out-of-school commitments and tricky homework assignments. “I ended up staying up until like midnight and then woke up at five to keep working on the project before school,” she said.

From this experience, Kaufman learned that splitting up her time and working on something at night and then in the morning works best for her, instead of trying to get it all done late at night.

Some advice Kaufman has for the underclassmen at La Salle is “don’t do more than you know you can handle,” she said. She suggests that if you’re ever feeling overwhelmed, do not hesitate to talk to teachers and ask for help, because the teachers here at La Salle understand that homework can be overwhelming and that students have other things going on outside of school, she said.


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On the average weekday, junior Quentin Strange spends about “an hour and a half to two hours on homework,” whereas on the weekends, it’s “more towards three to four hours [in] total,” he said.

Quentin Strange

Junior Quentin Strange is a member of the boys varsity soccer team, along with being an employee at a pizza place in his neighborhood. 

Strange’s schedule consists of eight to ten hours a week dedicated solely to soccer. Practice is on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Sundays, and games are on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Work alone takes up about 15 hours, since he works around three days a week, on Friday, Saturday, and Wednesday. 

And even with such a busy schedule, Strange also is taking several challenging courses. He’s taking AP English 3, AP Biology, AP U.S. History, and Honors Spanish III. Out of these the most challenging is AP Biology, “because it’s a lot of information and the info can be kinda confusing,” he said. 

On the average weekday, Strange spends about “an hour and a half to two hours on homework,” whereas on the weekends, it’s “more towards three to four hours [in] total,” he said. 

As for feeling overwhelmed, “it can be super stressful sometimes, but most of the time my teachers are super understanding and helpful,” Strange said. 

At one point, Strange “had two tests on the same day,” he said. “I was getting pretty stressed about that, and I let my teachers know and they were able to help me change the days of one of my tests so I could do better on both of them.”

As for tips on how to be successful, “make sure to set out your priorities and what you need to get done and just make sure you’re always communicating with your teachers, because they’re always there to help you,” he said.

For underclassmen, “try not to procrastinate and just try to get stuff done on time because when stuff starts building up and like missed work, it can be even more stressful,” he said. “So you want to stay on top of things and stay in touch with your teachers,” he said.


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In order to manage time between schoolwork and sports well, “use as much time as you can [before practice] so it’s not overwhelming when you get to it at the end of the night,” senior Abbie Reddick said.

Abbie Reddick

Senior Abbie Reddick is a part of the La Salle girls varsity soccer team and the track and field team. Along with that, she plays on a club soccer team when high school soccer season is over. 

Reddick keeps a busy schedule throughout the school year. “Soccer is every day during high school season and three times a week during club season,” she said. Track and field follows a similar schedule, as Reddick also attends those practices each day after school. 

Out of all her classes, AP English 4 with Mr. Krantz has been the hardest so far, she said. Reddick went on to explain that this is because of the “heavy homework load and lots of writing and reading.” 

The amount of time Reddick spends doing homework during the school week can vary. Most of the time, she’ll have at least an hour of homework to complete but “when I have that English class or my math class, it’s up to two hours,” she said.  As for weekends, Reddick will spend up to three hours getting her homework done for the upcoming week.

Reddick says that she definitely feels overwhelmed at times with the amount of school work she has to get done while also succeeding in sports. Junior year, Reddick was assigned a research paper that was to be “at least ten pages in length,” she said. At the time, Reddick was also preparing for an upcoming state soccer tournament. 

This was a challenge for her, as she wanted to be successful in her tournament and with her research paper, but they both took up a lot of time and energy. Through dealing with experiences like this over her past few years at La Salle, she has learned how to be both a good student and a good athlete.

As she begins to finish up her time at La Salle, one tip Reddick has for the underclassmen is to take advantage of the time you have in between school and extracurriculars. “It’s good to use as much time as you can [before practice] so it’s not overwhelming when you get to it at the end of the night,” she said.

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Maddie Burns, Editor

Maddie is a senior at La Salle. She is an ambassador, on student council, and is a part of the Earth club and Service club. In her free time Maddie enjoys...

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Ashley Hawkins, Assistant Editor

Ashley Hawkins is a senior at La Salle. She is a member of the girls golf team as well as a student ambassador. In her free time, she likes to spend time...

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