There Goes the Bell…


Photograph by K Davis

When the class or day’s over, what sound should we hear?

Of all the sounds in the world, why does ours have to be a “cruise ship” jingle to signify the end of class? The new bell has been described as “medicine time in a hospital”, “a train in Europe” “a sound in an airport”, “ice cream truck” or as teacher Karen Davis tells her students, “And the buffet is now open on the Lido deck.”

There has been a lot of  discussion and dispute among students and teachers alike about the new sound and also whether the five-minute bell should have been removed.   

In a poll crafted and conducted by Senior Daniel Gallup (who in all fairness is also the Editor of The Spartacus) that went to students and faculty in the Upper School there were 190 respondents. Of those, 81 percent said they were unhappy with the new sound. Nearly 11% were indifferent and only 4% said they were fans.

When we spoke to some of those who responded, we found both negative and positive attitudes toward the new sound.

Senior Evelyn Abramowitz says it’s not the sound that frustrates her, she is simply confused as to what the current bell determines in the school day. “I don’t understand what’s happening. Is it 5 minutes? 7 minutes? Did I miss my flight?” She says she doesn’t know if she’s late or early to a class and that the five-minute bell is necessary to orient herself throughout the school day.

There are also the students who find the new bell sound very annoying. Along with Abramowitz, 10th grader Guilianna Bruce agrees that the five-minute bell is necessary. She says a bell is meant to wake someone, as it “marks the rebirth of class and death of a lesson,”  but this bell is “anticlimactic” and that she feels like she’s not at school. Bruce exclaims that she “wants answers”.

On the other hand, 11th grader Sophia Gostfrand does not care about the new bell changes. Gostfrand thinks that a bell shouldn’t have so much effect on someone’s life and that people are making

a big deal out of nothing.

A rather unique perspective comes from Peter Konen. He wants the first ten seconds of the song “Panama” by Van Halen to be the new bell. “If the bells did that, I would be happy.”

On another note, Scott Brennan is excited that the school is one step closer to having no bells. He believes that someone should know when they have to go without the need of a bell. His frustration with the old bell was the loudness and sound chosen which gave him anxiety. Mr. Brennan is accepting of the new bell with a softer sound and thinks that removing the five-minute bell was the correct decision.

Several teachers have compiled their thoughts on the new bell while listening to their student’s perspectives. They think removing the five-minute bell was the correct decision out of frustration of their students packing up their supplies with five minutes of class to spare. Although not all students have made the argument that it helps them know when a class is ending to wrap up what assignment they’re doing, such as an essay.

There have been many ideas about what the sound should be, but here’s a new one: what about simply having a bell? A real bell? Who would have thought a bell had so much impact on Country Day?!