Shelvonne Burton '19, Jordan Harrington '19 & William Reid '19

The Journey To A Good Education

By Makeda Melkie '19

June 2019 Profile Issue 


Whether it be your favorite song or one of the generic ringtones from your phone’s library, alarms have to be some of the most universally hated sounds. Maybe it's the piercing tone disrupting your dream that make you despise it. Or maybe it’s the fact that you know, within the next hour you’ll be at school or work. Regardless of your reason, by the end of the week it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll want to rip your hair out every time you hear it.


For most students, this is a sound that we hear at 6:30 in the morning. Now imagine having to hear it at 5:00am. This is the reality of students who live far away from school. Shelvonne Burton, William Reid and Jordan Harrington are three senior who have started their days this way for their entire high school careers. Here are their stories.

Shelvonne Burton has been a student at SSSAS since kindergarten, and it takes her anywhere from 30 - 90 minutes every day to drive to and from school to her house in Fort Washington, Maryland. That time depends on how bad the traffic is and “just … how much I'm breaking the speed limit,” she mentioned laughing. Shelvonne has to wake up early to get to school on time. She explained, “if I have something to do like before school and I want to get there at like 7:15 - 7:30ish, I wake up around 5:20, which is excessively early, but I have to be up for a little while to function properly.”  


This was the routine Shelvonne and her parents went through for more than a decade, so when she got her license they were “super excited.” Especially Shelvonne’s mother, who works in DC, because she not only had to go through D.C traffic to get to SSSAS to pick Shelvonne up, but then proceed through Virginia traffic and then through Maryland traffic.


William Reid also lives in Maryland, specifically in Upper Marlboro. For him it takes him about an hour to an hour and twenty minutes to get to school with traffic. Without any traffic it can take him around forty minutes. However, the chances of there not being traffic in the morning are slim to none so he wakes up at 5:30 am. If that wasn’t bad enough he also leaves school at 7pm because “it works best with my parent's schedule and traffic.” At this point in his high school career, William says, “the commute has become such a regular part of my day that it no longer bothers me.”


Lastly, Jordan Harrington lives in Manassas, Virginia, which is “about 45 minutes on a good day, but on a bad day it's between an hour to an hour and a half with traffic.” Even though he has his license, Jordan tends to take the bus to school because the cost of “gas would be too wild.” In order to do this, however, he wakes up at 5:00 every morning to catch the 6:00 bus that allows him to arrive to school around 7:40. Jordan states, “It's always going to be hard waking up at 5:00 every morning...however, it's gotten easier. I would say in the beginning it was more of like ‘Good lord what am I doing with my life’. But now it's more like ‘ok, I’m fine’.”


Even though they have to start their school days earlier than most, when asked the question ‘Why come to SSSAS?’, all three of them agreed upon one thing; that it was worth it. Shelvonne states that “My parents think that it’s a super good school and that it sets you up for being able to function in society and achieve anything that you want, which, I also think is true. I know for a fact that St. Stephens produces great kids.”


William echoes this sentiment saying ”We choose to go to SSSAS because of the quality of education here and the supportive faculty.”


Jordan Harrington replied with “Yes, that is as a very good question, I asked myself that a lot, but it really came down to me wanting better for myself...and out of all the schools I toured this [SSSAS] just felt the best for me.”