Students at Herbert H. Lehman High School in the Bronx and at Benjamin N. Cardozo High School in Queens, both overcrowded schools, said they had to get to class early to make sure they found a seat; hallways were so packed that it was sometimes difficult to get to class on time; and physical education classes could be large. In interviews outside of their schools on Thursday, here is what the students said life was like in their schools — both the good and the bad.
At Lehman High School:
Jae Maree Marty, a senior: "All of my classes are full — like 35 kids. I have to go to class early to get a seat."
Christian Galeas, a senior: "There are barely any classes open if you want to transfer to another class. I've been trying to transfer for about a week to get into other classes. There was nothing open. I had to pretty much wait until now so could get into other classes."
Destiny Garcia, a senior: "Most of the classes are packed. The maximum that is supposed to be in a class is 34. Some classes have 37."
"44, 50," added Ashley Negron, a senior, finishing Destiny's thought. "My health class has 50 kids."
If they are late to class and there are no more chairs, teachers have them round up more, the students said.
Jae Maree: "It's awkward because they're like, 'You have to go to this office to get a chair.' And they're like, 'We don't have any more chairs.' ”
As for the hallways:
Jae Maree: "It's like, the kids push you back the other way from where you are going so you don't get anywhere.
Referring to a video game, Christian said: "Like Frogger, you find your way through."
As for physical education classes, one student said the weight-training class had 41 students, but that an extra teacher was brought in.
At Benjamin Cardozo High School:
Shabab Waleed, a junior: "Between periods, it can get really crazy. We call the middle hallway on the first floor 42nd Street because it's really crowded. Everyone's talking, chilling. But in the end, you make it out."
Kiran Bawa, a sophomore: "I like having so many students; I like that there are more of us. It means more friends. The bus can be crazy at times, though, especially at hours like this, in the morning."
Carol Chau, 17, who graduated from Cardozo last year and now attends Queensborough Community College, across the street: "With all the bodies and elbows it was hard to get to class, to go up and down the stairs. On the stairs, you'd get shoved in either direction. You'd be walking and then someone in front of you would suddenly see their friends and stop, and you'd crash into them."
But, she added: "There were 800 students in our graduating class, but I still felt like all the seniors knew and recognized each other. You get to make more friends with more students. Another good thing about having so many students was that there was more tutoring available for certain subjects."