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The Sentinel

The Student News Site of St. Luke's School

The Sentinel

The Student News Site of St. Luke's School

The Sentinel

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St. Luke’s Unplugged: Dr. Bludgus Speaks About Cell-Phone Free Week

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Two weeks ago, St. Luke’s unplugged from their phones during the school’s first ever ‘Optional Cell-Phone Free Week.’ Every day, participants handed in their phones upon arrival to campus, and the device was returned at the end of the school day. Dr. William Bludgus, Head of Upper School, commented on this experience. 

When asked what inspired him to implement this program at St. Luke’s, Bludgus stated, “It stems out of conversations from our Offices of Wellbeing.” The faculty has begun to “expand ways to prioritize student well-being.” They realized that “cell phones are a distraction on a pathway to that end goal.” The end goal is improved well-being and a less distracting environment.

St. Luke’s is often regarded as a high-pressure environment. Bludgus commented on phones and their connection to academic burnout stating, “Coming out of the assembly with Jennifer Wallace, there is a lot out there that weighs on young people’s minds.” He continued, “Sometimes social media is part of that, and the ways that we are influenced puts additional mental stress on our days.”   

By unplugging for even a week, students and faculty have had positive experiences. Bludgus said, “I think the people I have talked to have started off with a feeling of uncertainty and discomfort. However, as the week went on, we talked to students and noticed that they are a lot less distracted and more focused. Participants felt a bit lighter by being able to detach from the phone.”

The school was supportive of students and faculty through this experience. Bludgus said, “Seminar One was open all week thanks to the Wellbeing Counselors, and they provided different activities to participants. There was coloring, arts and crafts, hot chocolate and cookies.” 

Inspired by this program, Bludgus was also an active participant in the SLS ‘Optional Cell-Phone Free Week.’ He said, “I have enjoyed it; it is only six hours, and we still have our computers and radios so you can still find people pretty easily.” 

In terms of disadvantages of this program, Bludgus said, “I haven’t noticed any negative side effects in terms of productivity. I do like the feeling of not needing to pick up the phone, I am also less distracted.”

Despite potential disadvantages, this experience was necessary because it helped Bludgus gauge “where our school is at to completely detach from our phones.” He said, “We had a small percentage of the campus population sign up,” and he wonders “how much of that is due to social pressure.” He hopes to have more participants in the future as the program evolves. 

The optional cell-phone free week may even become a permanent option as one student asked Bludgus if the box could stay at the front desk. 

In a world where we’re all wrapped up in our devices from the moment we wake up, throughout the school day and well into the night, removing one of those devices could be a great addition to school life.

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About the Contributor
Eliza Schwartz '24
Eliza Schwartz '24, Editor-in-Chief
This is Eliza Schwartz’s seventh year at St. Luke’s, and she is currently a senior. This is her second year writing for the Sentinel, and she is beyond excited. Outside of the Sentinel, Eliza really enjoys baking, snowboarding, and hanging out with friends. She can’t wait for a great year on the Sentinel!

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