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Stembridge finishes first year at South, makes impression

By Hye-Jung Yang
Published: June 2010

In reflecting upon his first year at South, Principal Joel Stembridge believes that he has successfully achieved his initial goal of learning more about the South community.

“I don’t know if I’ve learned enough or if I will ever stop learning, he said. “[But] I really did try hard this year to be cautious about making adjustments without knowing the underlying issues and the history of how those issues were presented here.

Among the policies that Stembridge has instituted in his first year at South are a ban on eating in the hallways and lobby, a ban on unsupervised student activity in the building after school, and a stricter attendance and lateness policy.

These stricter policies were met with some resistance among students when they were first put into place. As the school year progressed, however, students have become more accustomed to thes changes and have generally respected them.

“I understand the reasons behind the policies and think that some of them are necessary, junior Grace Kim said.

Despite a mixed response to his new policies, Stembridge is excited to continue learning about and exploring South.

This past year, he sought out people such as Marshall Cohen, Mary Scott, and Charlie Myette, whom he knew had many years of experience at South and would be able to guide him through his first year.

“I knew coming in that South is a complex school, with layers of clubs and layers of opportunities, Stembridge said. “As different issues have presented themselves, I learn details about how particular programs came to be, how they are evolving, and ideas people have about where they need to be in the future.

With the experience he has gained from his first year at South, Stembridge would like to improve upon the levels of school spirit and stress at this school.

There are, however, many things he admires, among which is the complexity of the school.

“Complexity means different ways to help students, Stembridge said. “Students here are not complacent; there is a drive to see how programs change.

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