Lockers fading from routines of students

In classic high school movies, students almost always congregate around lockers. They are a key factor of what a high school experience is like. Whether it is someone decorating it for a birthday, being shoved into it or leaning on it between classes, the cliche moments of high school lockers no longer ring true with the reality of lockers and the millennial generation.

Sophomore Austin Cross did not even know where his locker was until one day walking in the hallway he saw a football sign on a locker with his name written on it.

“It was kind of a mistake finding my locker,” he said. “My classes are all too far apart in order to go to my locker. If we rebuild the high school, I don’t think we should have lockers. If it is such a big high school with so many students, there is no point in having lockers to get to them.”

According to a poll of 195 students in Cedar Falls High School, 62.6 percent know where their locker is in the building, but 70 percent do not even use their lockers.

Many students struggle with not having enough time between classes to switch out books.

“I think a lot of people don’t use their lockers because they don’t have time to stop by or don’t feel the need to, but I also get the sense that they think it’s dumb to use lockers because it’s not really a huge thing at the high school anymore,” sophomore Jade Pham said.

The social aspect of stopping between classes and taking the time to see friends is no longer needed because of social media and accessibility to cell phones. Instead of stopping at lockers to talk, one message can be sent in a fraction of the time in the 4-minute passing period.

Pham is part of the 29.2 percent students that do use lockers. “I use my locker because it makes it way easier to carry my books around when I don’t have to take them all at once,” she said. For the few that use their lockers, they are not often used for academic reasons, and 40.4 percent of students say that they use their locker for keeping sweatshirts and winter clothes in.

At Thomas Jefferson High School in Fairfax County, Virg., lockers are not a problem because they don’t have any, according to the Washington Post. For part of a school renovation, communal cubbies were installed instead of lockers.

As discussion of a new high school being built for the Cedar Falls school district continues, the value of lockers is something to consider. Out of a poll of 195 CFHS students, 46.7 percent  said there should be lockers at the new high school, 37 percent said maybe and the remaining 16.3 percent say there should not.

The nostalgic properties of lockers are not as important in high schools as they used to be, but they are also not something students need in order survive as textbooks start to become digital and communication is no longer set in one meeting spot between classes.

“I don’t think that I absolutely need a locker to survive high school, but it definitely makes life easier not having to haul super heavy textbooks and stuff on my back all day,” Pham said.

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