Last week, a fallen tree at SPARC caused mayhem and late students.
It’s January 4th, the second day back for students after a two-week long winter break. The day starts normally, and students are stunned as they awake to the piercing sound of their alarms. Many students get ready and drive themselves to school. The seniors arrive safely and early to their classes and park by the new gym. All the other grades turn into the SPARC parking lot. However, today, they are greeted by a custom OES stop sign detailing COVID concerns. The sign says only students and faculty are allowed on campus. These signs are posted throughout the OES campus and are a fairly common sight for students (therefore quite easy to ignore). However, this particular sign had an important reason for being there. The two-lane, narrow passage between Oleson and SPARC was fully barricaded by a massive tree. Ava Kobos, an OES student in the class of ‘24, was driving her younger sister to school when the tree fell. Ava was annoyed and frustrated because she needed to get to class, and backing out of SPARC seemed difficult to do—especially while sleep-deprived. I had a similar experience. When I saw the tree I must have thought, “Oh brother,” as my anxiety ramped up. My thoughts raced from, “Where shall I park now?” to “How the heck am I going to get out of here?” I had timed it just perfectly to get to SPARC and climb the hill to school, but I had not prepared for this horrible change of events. I slowly turned my car around and luckily made it out of SPARC in two or three minutes. I drove at a hurried pace to the main OES entrance and made it to class less than five minutes late.
Although this unpredictable event seems frivolous, it holds multiple valuable lessons. The first lesson is to be prepared and calm under stressful circumstances. It’s important to take a little more time to be in the moment and focused on the present. If everyone had followed the sign and taken a second to process its meaning, such congestion at SPARC road would not have happened.
Pictured above is what remains of the tree. It’s no longer such a problem, but it’s definitely not forgotten.