Colored Reams Become Mainstream at THS

Colored Reams Become Mainstream at THS

Liam Tenenbaum, Staff Writer

It’s a shame that The Echo doesn’t print newspapers anymore, because then you would be reading this story on a paper sporting a bright shade of fuchsia pink, mint green, sapphire blue, or possibly dandelion yellow. Following a school shortage of white paper, the inside of students’ folders no longer consisted of crisp, white worksheets, but of a plethora of colored papers comparable to a 64-pack of crayola crayons. Teachers’ intricate lesson plans, full of critical information and teachings, were reduced to an eyesore resemblant of an elementary schooler’s rushed art project. Although this problem seems somewhat comical in the grand scheme of things, it’s become too big of a nuisance to ignore. 

As a student here at THS, I vaguely remember the first time I saw the colored paper, a blinding light that spoiled the once coordinated clockwork of my math class. Having to graph tangent functions on bright yellow paper just didn’t feel right, and I’m sure that nobody else in the classroom was any happier than I was. Later that day, the paper crisis hit again, this time in my social studies class. Following the announcement of a project, a wave of disappointment flooded my mind and the minds of my classmates. However, the following emotion was not the typical feeling of anxiety, but a feeling of confusion when we were handed a colored paper. Personally, I found that the confusion of receiving a major assignment on pink paper was a gesture that almost felt like a practical joke. But time would soon show that this was no joke and that a real paper fiasco happening here at THS. 

A shortage of regular paper was just another addition to Tenafly’s resume of comical issues, ranging from massive raves and light shows in the boy’s bathrooms to cyber-ransoms leading to the cancellation of final exams. A paper problem was simply the “Tenafly-way” to kick off the 2022-2023 school year. We can’t seem to catch a break, and the next problem always seems to be more ridiculous than the last. 

Over the course of the past couple of weeks, students and teachers have been complaining about the wild colors of papers they’ve been left with. It became a hot topic in conversation, raising questions about how the situation started, how it has affected the school experience of students, and even what everyone’s new favorite color of paper is. Considering how ridiculous of a problem it is, it’s had major effects, and for weeks showed no sign of stopping. It’s even reached a point where students are no longer surprised to receive their assignments on colorful paper; they’ve just given up their efforts of keeping organized folders. After the problem raged strongly for countless weeks, the school population wondered: will the students and staff of THS ever see white paper again?

“I think that not having a supply of white paper is a bigger problem than most people realize,” Tony Yoo (’25), one of the many students who felt sidetracked from the new scarcity of paper, said. “My school binders feel unorganized, which is frustrating because we as students spend lots of time trying to keep our things tidy. I also remember many of my teachers sharing their frustrations with the class, disappointed by how long they’ve had to use colored paper for.” This opinion was quite common among the students and staff, especially among those who take great pride in being organized. 

However, others decided to see past the ridicule of the paper shortage and to look at the situation from a more positive perspective. “I actually liked some of the new colors of paper,” said Stone Quiroga (’25). “The vibrant shades of paper brightened up my otherwise dreary backpack, which was not exactly school-professional but definitely funny.” Humor was definitely a major takeaway from the recent crisis, as students and teachers shared laughs about a problem that you can’t read with a straight face. “I think that, overall, people just need to learn that these kinds of things happen, and all we can do is just use the hand we’ve been dealt.”  

Through my experience in dealing with the colorful calamity, I’ve encountered five different colors of paper, all with their own positive and negative attributes. Color #1 was some sort of bubblegum pink, fulfilling the schoolwork fantasies of legions of five-year-olds. The second was very close to cornflower blue, which sounds nice but in reality makes reading black font an excruciating challenge. The third was a beautiful golden honey hue, which really made you feel like you’ve inherited the royal supply of paper products. The fourth color looked almost like the skin of a pear. Unfortunately for us students, this will be the only green paper we’ll ever be given in high school. The last, and certainly least, color was a pastel yellow, coating folders in a color resemblant of the inside of a grotesque highway McDonald’s. 

Eager to find public opinion, I conducted a survey of a handful of students and staff to discover the favorite color of paper. Generally, the golden honey stood first in people’s minds, as it was honestly quite visually nice and serviceable as a background color. We humans really love our gold. A close second was the bubblegum pink, a result that was quite surprising to me. Some of the respondents described feelings of warmth and joy from the paper, emotions very rarely evoked from schoolwork. At the end of the podium stood the pear green, a mediocre color that left people with no sense of real satisfaction or disappointment. Cornflower blue and pastel yellow both found themselves at the bottom of the barrel due to lack of visibility or just plain disgustingness. 

While the supply of white paper has started to reappear in the THS environment, the days of colored paper will surely be missed. Whether students simply enjoyed the vibrance of the colors or wanted an excuse to complain about papers they were given, it was a comical inconvenience that all of us bonded over.