Students, Faculty Feel the Heat of New Year

The first three weeks got off to a hot start as THS classrooms reached unbearable heat.


Liam Tenenbaum

Boiler Room Pipe Madness

Liam Tenenbaum, Staff Writer

As summer came to a close, Tenafly High School students and staff prepared for the first full year of in-person learning after a grueling year and a half of COVID’s wrath. Returning back fully in-person was a monumental step for everyone, and the high school population was looking forward to finally returning to our town’s beloved high school. The unexpected twist to finally returning to real school again? There was no longer a high school. Only a building-sized oven stood in its place.

On September 9th, as first-day students and staff arrived back to school, everything was normal in terms of the familiar sheer disappointment of summer having ended and the jitters foreshadowing the looming school year ahead. As the time slowly ticked to 8:10 a.m., brave-hearted students ventured into the building, unaware of the beast that lay within. Even geese, flying in their infamous V, were disoriented by the strange energy coming from the school, and changed directions in fear of what might be inside. After mustering up some courage, I slowly approached the door, contemplating how everything would change and how it would be one of the most important days of my youth. I instantly felt the bustle traveling through the hallways, flowing through the cold steel doorknob I now held, and…  

I dropped my ID lanyard, so I closed the door promptly and bent to pick it up. After it was secured around my neck, I once again gripped the handles and thrust the door open. Everything was silent and I stared down the long, empty hallway, feeling a chill in my bones. The door slammed back into its closed position, sending an echo down the seemingly never-ending hall. Suddenly, a wave of destruction and heat, crawling through the hallways like a lion on the hunt, destroying everything in its path, engulfed me and burned me to a crisp.

I know what you’re thinking: “This is probably just some kid overreacting to some hot weather,” and to that I have two responses… 

  1. You’re ruining the poetic fun of the story. Way to go.
  2. If you weren’t there, you wouldn’t understand.

Although the best way to describe the recent school heat might not be a giant lava slide, it’s definitely more entertaining than the statistical data. But alas, the readers have expressed their doubts, so I will politely ignore them and continue along with the story. 

Day after day, the heat in the classrooms would continue to affect students and teachers, sending them into extreme frustration as they tried to complete their work. A student could not go one period without hearing their teacher complain about the heat, and the one question that burned through everyone’s mind was: “Where is the AC?” (and they didn’t mean Mr. Ahn-Cooper). To their dismay, they would learn that the AC had been broken for months, the wrong parts had been delivered, and it would take some time to be fixed. My thought process was, “Who could have royally screwed that up?” which then transitioned into a “This is going to be a long school year” but ended with a “I wonder what’s for dinner today.” Thought process aside, the curiosity of how this incident came to be continued to occupy students’ minds as the heat continued to rage.

To get to the bottom of this conditioning crisis, I took the initiative to interview the school principal and tour the boiler room, the origin of the recent heat madness. “It’s hard to capture this in an email to the kids and to the staff, except ‘hey guys we’re working on it,’” Mr. Morrison said as we entered the otherworldly room, thrumming with machinery. Let me say from personal experience, I completely understood. Pushing through the murky air, Mr. Morrison pointed out the air conditioning pipes, which looked like the skeleton of a dinosaur. No satire here, these pipes are ancient. The origin of the disaster became clear to me when I realized that the fate of the temperature of all the old-wing classrooms relied on nine rickety pipes. Additionally, seven of the pipes must work in harmony to function well, and many of them had broken parts due to sheer age or to the recent tragedy of Hurricane Ida. But the main reason for the delayed repair of these pipes was COVID, as well as the botched delivery from the parts manufacturers. “The building was designed to have air conditioning,” Mr. Morrison said. Unlike other Tenafly schools, the air flow of this building completely relies on the air conditioning, and this was why it was such a big deal.

One day, my Journalism class had moved its operations outside in a desperate attempt to beat the heat. After the bell rang, I immediately made my way to the locker rooms in order to get ready for soccer practice. On the way, as I saw the cooking class unironically learning how to cook eggs on the school’s pavement, an idea started to formulate in my head. The idea continued to take shape during soccer practice, and as I watched dry blades of grass, yearning for a storm, this vague idea of mine grew. The next day, when I saw a baked worm on the pavement on the way to school, I finally understood that it wasn’t just me who had to experience this heat. Not only THS but it’s surrounding environment was suffering under the relentless summer sun.

Approaching the school with a new mindset, I pulled back the doors to find something strange: cold air. Pinching myself to verify my consciousness, I mentally celebrated for three seconds before I remembered that I had a whole school day ahead of me. Trekking to my first period class, I ignored my previous gripe of everything suffering in the heat, as it was no longer relevant to me and therefore the world. I arrived at my classroom, sat down, took out my books, pondered mindlessly for a couple of seconds, and thought, “Damn, it’s kinda chilly in here!”