Population overload: School at maximum capacity


The crowded students are hard at work while they have the chance, because it is hard to find a computer with so many people.

The crowded students are hard at work while they have the chance, because it is hard to find a computer with so many people.

Cut offs, t-bones, fender benders: crowded hallways lead to all sorts of collisions in between classes.  Many students work out traffic plans for themselves, deciding which hallways to take to and from classes to best avoid the shoving and to give themselves time to go to their lockers and still get to class on time.

One reason that Kerr may seem overpopulated this year is because of the larger number of freshman students. 

“They [hallways] are packed with freshmen,” sophomore Randall T. said.

Sophomore Jasmine A. agreed. “We have a small population but it is overcrowded this year. [The population] increased because of all the freshmen.”

The perception that the hallways are extremely overpopulated is slightly skewed, according to Principal Greg Freeman. Overall, there are only 20 to 25 more students than in previous years, and only 804 students total.

“Our limit is around 800,” he said. “The amount of students we accept depends on the amount of seniors that graduated. If 200 seniors graduate, then we’ll accept 200 freshmen.”

Another reason that more people are having their toes stepped upon in the hallways is simply this – Kerr is increasing in popularity. This year Kerr earned the Exemplary ratings from the state and the National Blue Ribbon Award, and it is becoming known as one of the best schools in the city. Of approximately 350 students who applied to attend Kerr, only 250 were accepted. That is still a large number of new people, however.

“I went to the first meeting for the people that wanted to go to Kerr, and there were so many of them,” freshman Elisha B. said. “They actually had to start turning people away because they had too many people in the auditorium.”

Because of the influx of applications, the waiting list to be accepted was longer.

“[Students] go on a waiting list because once we get to our limit, here are some kids that without a question are ready for Kerr, will fit in,” Freeman said, “and then there are others where we’ll wait until early spring when they finish eighth grade to re-evaluate their scores.”

Sophomore Jake O. thinks negative perceptions of the other high schools are the reason that more and more eighth graders are interested in attending Kerr.

“I think that they have nowhere else to go and they don’t want to go to those [other] schools,” he said. 

However, the waiting list is only active during the summer. Once the school year starts, as people transfer or move away, the number of students drops and none are added from the list.

“It’s kind of too late,” Freeman said. “With the accelerated block, it’ll be hard for someone to come in.”

As time goes on, the number of students will go down, and no new students will replace them until the next academic year.

“Each year — at the beginning — everything is crowded because everyone is trying to find the fastest way to go,” senior Peter T. said, “[but] as the year progresses, everything will become more spaced out.”