Norton finds balance between academics, extracurriculars

Norton finds balance between academics, extracurriculars

Sophomore Ben Norton works on a class assignment. Norton tries to maintain academic success with sports and extracurricular activities.

Story by Jacob Hill, Staff Writer

To some class rank means nothing, but to others, maintaining their class rank is a top priority. Sophomore Ben Norton shares his schedule and methods for staying at the top of the grading pyramid.

“Well, this year I’m taking AP World History, and my other classes are all Pre-AP except for tennis,” Norton said. “This way, I’m getting the highest weight I can, and I get to prepare myself for next year.”

Norton knows that rank can shift at any time. However, he doesn’t want to overload on classes during his junior year.

“While I’m definitely taking as many AP and DC classes as I can, I’m also going to take TigerVision, leadership and tennis, even though they aren’t weighted as high,” Norton said.

He’s not worried that these will hurt his rank, though. In fact, he looks forward to next year.

“I’m going to do independent research on tennis to give that an AP weight, but I wouldn’t say that taking classes that aren’t weighted will hurt my grade,” Norton said.

Norton has an eye beyond high school rank, and that is one of the major influences behind taking some of his non-weighted classes.

“I want to take leadership because it will get me a lot of service hours, which are very important for your college application,” Norton said. “TigerVision is really just a class that I have fun taking, and I think it will really set me apart from other kids in the eye of colleges because most schools don’t have a program that is anything close to it.”

Even though Norton’s academic future is a priority for him, he is not wanting to let it consume him.

“It’s important to work as hard as I can in high school, but it’s equally important to enjoy my time here,” he said. “I don’t want to be some crazy person with no life, who stays at their house all night studying. That would be extremely boring.”

Norton’s study hours reflect his attitude on diligence and not wanting to work too hard.

“I only study for tests the night before and sometimes the morning before the test, depending on the class,” Norton said. “Homework doesn’t usually take me more than 30 minutes to an hour, except for AP World History. I sometimes have to spend two hours on the notes because she assigns so much work.”

With the work required to finish his homework, Ben finds it difficult to balance athletics into his schedule, but well worth the effort.

“Practicing until 5 or later every day does cut into my time for school work, but I’ve gotten used to it,” he said. “It’s also tough when we go to tournaments almost every Friday because it gives me less time to do my work, plus the make-up work really stacks up. I’ve gotten used to that, too, though. It can be a pain, but that’s the sacrifice you have to make to play a sport.”

Norton’s study habits aren’t that radical, as well. He just does what he needs to do as efficiently as possible.

“I do the homework that’s due the soonest first and the homework that’s due the latest I save for the end,” he said. “When I have to study for a test, I either give my parents or brothers the study guide and get them to ask me questions over it, or I just review the material until I know I have everything memorized.”

Norton is confident that he can maintain his performance under the stress that comes with his junior and senior year, but he doesn’t want to make something like class rank the top priority in his life.