Last day finals spark debate on end of year activities


Staples’ last day of school each year is a two-hour finals block, but do students deserve something more fun than a testing day? Graphic by Alex Gaines ’25

Some of my happiest memories from school were those “last days” before breaks in elementary school. Whether we were crowding around a smartboard watching “The Polar Express” the day before Christmas break, accepting popsicles the teachers passed out right before the week off in April, or running around during the jam-packed week with Field Day and a final slideshow at the very end of the school year, it was always a good time.

Staples, however, takes a different approach to the last days before breaks: after hours upon hours of studying for a grueling finals week, students head to school for their two-hour last final, hand in the test, and walk out the door. I’ve heard countless complaints about this anticlimactic last day;  after a year of hard work, don’t we deserve some kind of reward?

 At first, I wholeheartedly agreed. I put so much effort into school this year–don’t I deserve an ending that’s more than just a final ring of the school bell?

But after further reflection, I’ve realized that this fantastical idea of a last day of school is a far worse option than the sudden ending we currently have.

The few days of school in elementary and middle school weren’t rewards for making it to the end of the year; they were simply used as a way to fill the space of time because those classes didn’t have a set ending of their curriculum. Every Staples class has a beginning, middle and end to the units covered throughout the year, and finals marks a clear end of every class. Elementary and middle schools, rather, have subjects that fade out at different rates, leaving buffer days at the end of the year that the school fills with activities.

I put so much effort into school this year–don’t I deserve an ending that’s more than just a final ring of the school bell?

— Alex Gaines ’25

A survey of college students from MentalHelp demonstrated that 31% of students’ biggest source of stress were finals and midterms. Clearly, finals testing is a heavy stress on any Staples student, but the contrast between the stress of finals and relaxation of summer makes the transition between them fulfilling.

That said, there are some nostalgic concepts from the end of the year that could be added to Staples’ finals weeks to make the transition to summer a little brighter.

Yearbooks, for example, used to be one of the core factors of a last day of school for me. Staples, however, sends out yearbooks by mail, and they’re received after the last day. Long gone are the days of asking fellow students to sign your yearbook–an especially fun part of past last days. 

Ideally, Staples would slightly rework finals season to include activities, such as yearbooks, to lighten up the end of the year without just adding on unnecessary extra days. Passing out yearbooks to be signed during a wellness break in between finals, for example, would be a great way to make the transition from finals into summer a lot easier without adding another day to the year. And while a relaxed and fun last day of school might seem appealing, if the goal of the end of a school year is to celebrate all that we’ve accomplished, doesn’t the first day of summer work just as well?