A 5:30 a.m. alarm, three minute walk to the bus stop, 10 minute wait for the bus and a 50 minute ride.
To students who live near the school, this commute may seem unfathomable. But for students from South Brookline and other nearby towns, these trips are a routine part of daily life. Commuting to and from the high school defines students morning routines and serves as an integral part of daily life.
Junior Myles Avalon travels from South Brookline to school by car, a routine he began freshman year. For his parents, who do the driving, the car trips can be an occasional inconvenience.
“Sometimes they’re cutting it really, really close to when they have to be at work,” Avalon said.
According to sophomore Andrew Subach, commuting by bus is a mixed bag.
“It would be nicer to have walking distance or even straight biking distance [to the school],” Subach said. “But at the same time, the bus is really nice when it’s bad weather out. It just takes a while, but you can sleep, you can listen to music.”
Students who live near the school often walk. Unlike Avalon and Subach, junior Eli Weldon’s daily commute takes only about eight minutes.
“I live up the hill from the high school, so it’s pretty leisurely,” Weldon said.
Weldon believes living in South Brookline would make it more difficult for him to attend class on time. “I definitely would not be able to take a Z-block class if I lived there. I would barely even make it to A-block, probably,” Weldon said.
Subach noted distinct regional differences between North Brookline, which is generally defined as close to Boston, and South Brookline, which is generally defined as closer to Newton.
“North Brookline’s a lot more urban, obviously a lot more people out. I feel like everything is more interconnected there,” Subach said. “In South Brookline, people just go to their house and stay there because there’s not much to do.”
Avalon agreed with Subach’s sentiment and said that he occasionally felt bored living in South Brookline.
“You can only do a certain thing so many times,” Avalon said, “There’s Putterham. When we went to Baker we’d go there every day after school. And eventually, it was just like, ‘I wish there was something else we could do.’”
Prior to living in South Brookline, Subach lived in North Brookline, which he felt was a better experience.
“I definitely enjoyed living in North Brookline a lot more. You had bigger access to the whole Boston area,” Subach said.
Several students commute from other towns, many of which have their own regional differences from Brookline. Junior Trevor McQuaid commutes daily from West Roxbury.
“I’d say that West Roxbury is a lot less diverse than Brookline,” McQuaid said. “Most people are white of European descent.”
Weldon said proximity to the high school is convenient.
“Being close by to the high school basically makes everything easier. I’m able to go home if I want for free blocks or X blocks,” Weldon said. “I’m able to leave 10 minutes before school starts from my house. If I forget a binder I can actually just go home and get it.”
Subach said that transportation methods differ between South Brookline and North Brookline.
“South Brookline drives a lot more. We don’t have as much access to good public
transportation. It’s the 51 bus that comes once every half hour, if it comes,” Subach said.
Subach wishes there was a more convenient method of transportation from South Brookline to the high school.
“There’s only one [bus] route pretty much; [they] have to pick up kids from Heath and all over the place. I would make it more direct to each neighborhood,” Subach said.
Avalon wishes that there were better travel accommodations for South Brookline students after school.
“I wish there were maybe two buses that went to Sobro after school. Because there’s one, and it’s right after school, and a lot of times, I can’t make that,” Avalon said. “For example, I was getting biology help yesterday after school, and by the time I got outside and grabbed my coat, it was gone.”
Although Subach’s commute is lengthy, he firmly stressed that a longer commute should not justify poor academic performance.
“We shouldn’t use that as an excuse,” Subach said. “It’s not like we’re in Western Massachusetts and drive an hour to get here. I don’t think it’s unfair. It’s just the way it is.”
Although inconvenient at times, Avalon said that he still enjoys living in South Brookline.
“South Brookline’s a great place. I love it, truthfully. There’s a good community vibe. I love all of my neighbors. They’re great people,” Avalon said. “There’s just little aspects that kids in North Brookline have that I wish I had.”