Latter-Day Saints students have atypical school days

They roam the halls of Ames High in the early hours, before even the teachers arrive. Who are they? None other than the Latter-Day Saints of Ames High. The students who attend the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints begin their day differently than typical high school students. “We have religions class at 6 in the morning and we arrive at Ames High at around 7,” junior Megan Paxton said. “I am a morning person, so I’m okay with it, but a lot of people don’t like it. Some of us finish up on homework assignments, some just use the computer, some sit around and socialize, and others try to get some sleep in.” While these are obviously rather informal classes, not everyone has the same sort of leisure opportunity. Former Ames High junior Zach Liechty had to adjust after he moved from Ames to Utah a couple of months ago. In Utah, unlike in Ames, professional teachers run the classes rather than a volunteer. Also, the classes are held during the day and the students receive a grade for it. Both Liechty and Paxton stated that there are advantages of having an early morning religious class. “It makes it a lot easier to go to morning rehearsals for musicals and things like that because I am used to getting up so early,” Paxton said. “There also isn’t an excuse to be late because we are already at the school.” While an excuse to be late might sound great to some, these are very studious kids. They have also learned to use their time wisely, such as using the time before school as “an extra study hall.” “I think by having the early morning classes, you can start the day off more spiritually,” Liechty said. “Also, now I am late to my 1st period classes because I don’t have to be at the school at 7 every day.” Also, the general community lifestyle in Utah is very different. Because of the high population density of the Latter-Day Saints, the community’s schedule goes by the church’s schedule. “Monday nights are ‘Family Home Evenings,’” Liechty said. “It was difficult to schedule it in Ames because of all the extra-curricular activities going on during the week, but in Utah we have Mondays off for it.” The early waking hours of these students may be very different from those of typical high school students. However, once the school bell rings, the students go into rest of their days living in their normal teenage lives, a reminder that there is always a little diversity around us, if we just take the time to look.