Dougherty Valley population increase causes emotional challenges

This year, the number of students at Dougherty Valley High School increased to 3,007, a population spike that has heightened the demand for student resources, but they come at an emotional expense.

Dougherty Valley’s crowded hallways and hectic passing periods are cause for concern to students. There are few spots on campus that are not packed with people at any given time, which makes it hard to get away from the chaos. Students experience stress from the time that they get to the slow-moving drop-off lines, which often make them late to their first class, to the crowded halls that make getting to class in five minutes challenging.

Junior Araceli Berry said, “Days where I think I leave early, I end up being late anyways. As the day goes on I get pushed up and down the stairs or in the hallways.”

Students have made claims that the crowds are not only inconvenient, but dangerous as well. One in particular explained that the lack of space left her feeling unsafe.

Sophomore Jennifer Kim said that there is “no space in the halls, no space in the classes, too much traffic.” She added, “This I believe can be a safety issue.”

Additionally, the emotions that go along with being somewhat anonymous are experienced by many. With so many kids, it can be difficult to feel like a vital part of the community.

One student who wished to remain anonymous remarked that the size of the school could cause loneliness. “In a large public school like this, you’re always on your own,” the student said.

DV counselor Sarah Campbell explained that it is easy for students to get lost in the crowds.

“I think with over three thousand students on this campus, it’s easier for someone to fall between the cracks,” she said.

When asked whether the size of the school would harm the quality of students’ education, however, Ms. Campbell answered, “I don’t think it’s really going to hurt their education per say, because I think, regardless, our teachers are doing wonderful things and are truly wanting to help every student they have.”

She went on to explain that because the demand is so high, Dougherty offers it’s students a wide variety of resources. With the student body having so many different interests, there is more likely to be something for everyone than at a smaller school. The campus has a large numb clubs and sports teams, and with so many academically oriented students at this school, many AP courses are offered.

“There’s so many opportunities and resources at Dougherty, compared to a smaller school. Our campus is top-notch, it’s one of the best in the state and I don’t know if everyone knows that. This is a very unique opportunity for students. Our students are very lucky to be here,” said Campbell.

Another Dougherty counselor, Liana Wong, added that the large student body exposes students to more diversity, saying, “You’re also meeting people with different backgrounds, you know, different viewpoints, so I also see that as a positive thing.”

Despite its size, Dougherty remains one of the top public schools in California, and is academically excellent. Although the size of the student body has not kept Dougherty from being a highly-ranked school, it is chaotic and stress-producing, and many students would prefer that there were fewer students.