For Better or Worse: The Class of 2023 Chugs Back to Normalcy



Seniors Caroline Feagin, Ella Kaufman, and Tanner Adams work diligently to prepare for the onslaught of testing and senior stress facing the class of ’23 in full for the first time in several years.

The class of 2023 is inching back to pre-covid normalcy, a steady climb that began when the long-departed class of 2019 walked the NAHS halls. Friday night football games, Homecoming events, and maskless smiles have -at last- made a complete return, and are set to stay the course for our lucky seniors.

And yet, the eldest students of North are grappling with the downsides of ever-changing adjustments. Among the list of academic returns slated to set North Atlanta back on course, not all are welcomed with open arms.

Oh, the dreaded task of NAHS seniors: standardized tests. The 2022-23 school year is welcoming an increasingly rigorous (and lengthy) testing schedule for Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) tests, while previous senior classes dodged the bulk of associated pressure due to amendments made in the name of Covid. The class of 2020 avoided end-of-year AP and IB tests altogether, while the class of 2021 was granted abbreviated assessments. Our current seniors, however, are set to sit for full-length tests this spring, a call that has raised concerns (and stress levels). “I’m not overly hopeful when it comes to IB tests. Many students in our class felt unprepared for junior and sophomore year AP tests, so we have officially fallen out of step with the entire process,” said senior Peyton Burch.

Outside of the eleven stories, senior (assessment) blues continue with the menace of SAT and ACT modifications. As many colleges chose to adopt a test-optional approach following the onset of the pandemic, students were not required to submit SAT or ACT scores with their applications, contrary to expectations of years prior. Now that students affected by the pandemic during their upperclassman years at North Atlanta have graduated, many colleges are choosing to revoke test-optional policies. “It seems unfair that the class of 2023 got the short end of the stick, but I would take the return of football games for the price of standardized testing any day.” said senior Lizzie Havey.

The class of 2023 will continue to face the rigor of academic normalcy while younger NAHS students see benefits emerge. The amended service hour graduation requirement brought some of our seniors’ joy as it changed from 75 to 45 hours for current seniors, juniors, and sophomores. The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) hourly requirements, however, have been dropped altogether for juniors and upcoming Diploma students. Although the service hour change accommodates the class of 2023, it has come all too late, as the majority of students have already amassed the extra 35 hours. The revision of minimum requirements for school-mandated service and IB hours has therefore done little to alleviate the stress felt by our senior class. “It’s frustrating that most of us spent so much time during our junior year earning extra hours,” said senior Cameron Sellers. Yet at the end of the day, the changes are working in our favor, so I am grateful.

The road to recovery from a global pandemic has never been a linear path. Although the end is in sight, accommodations continue to benefit a select population of our student body. Despite academic adversity, the class of ‘23 is more ready than ever to blaze a new trail and set the Dubs on course for bigger and better.