Balancing Sports, Academics a Juggling Act


Doreen Chung

Freshman Ellie McDonald, left, works to balance sports with academics.

Judy Nakhla, Reporter

WOODBURY — More often than not, students at Nonnewaug High School have something to do after school. From freshmen to seniors, students handle responsibilities like work, sports, and other activities on a daily basis. How do they balance such tasks with their equally important schoolwork?

“After school, I have sports until around 4:30 everyday, sometimes longer when I have games. I’ve gotten home at 8 o’clock some nights,” said freshman Ellie McDonald. “I have a pretty set schedule. I don’t use a planner, but I do the same subjects at the same time every day so I can get everything done.”

McDonald says she can finish her homework if she stays up until 12 a.m., since she still has to shower and eat dinner once she gets home. When she faces a quiz despite her schedule, she said she feels decently prepared.

“I feel pretty prepared because I cram in my studying. I try to spread it out so I don’t do all of my studying the night before, but it’s hard,” she said. 

Toby Denman is both a science teacher and a sports coach at Nonnewaug. He said that he is not any more lenient with kids who he knows are busy than with any other student.

“Sometimes being busier helps with making choices in terms of time management, so these students should be able to budget their time accordingly,” he said. “On rare occasions, like when we have away games at night, I’ve been a little more understanding. This doesn’t happen often, though.”

Denman said that regarding tests and exams, whether these busy kids are ready or not is case-dependent.

“Some of our athletes are among the most driven people in the school, and then there are some kids that don’t have that same drive,” he added.

When it comes to getting work done, Denman’s advice is to carve out specific times to do homework.

“You could come home from practice, eat dinner, then get to work. Sometimes in the winter, with games being more towards nighttime, I would advise going home, getting some work done, getting some rest, then coming for the game,” he elaborated. “Otherwise, you’re making the recipe for staying up too late and not taking care of yourself.”

“Staying up late at night doing schoolwork has just become a regular,” McDonald said in contradiction.