A ‘break’ from vacation

After the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy forced the Greenwich Public Schools to cancel school for over a week and one too many snow days, April break will be one day shorter this year to compensate.

Spring recess was originally scheduled to take place from April 15 to April 19, but Friday, April 19, will now be a full school day. Holding school on Friday still allows for six days without school, including the weekend, but it’s still unpopular with students who were looking forward to a nine-day vacation and not just because we don’t want to go to school.

Some families already have their hotels booked and their plane tickets confirmed and cannot cut their vacation short just a couple of weeks in advance. But the administration of Greenwich High School is still hoping for as complete attendance as possible, as attendance is just as mandatory as on any other day of the academic year. For students who are feeling the pressure of approaching AP exams, missing a day of school less than a month before the exams start is more difficult than calling in sick.

Despite the impact of natural disasters on the East Coast, students are now familiar with the mantra “The exam date doesn’t change,” employed by teachers trying to motivate their students. Even though excessive snow days are typically made up at the end of the year, the extra days come too late for teachers who have to fit the same amount of content into fewer days.

Even though most students understand the importance of attending class, vacation plans mean that a lower attendance rate is to be expected. Some teachers are anticipating the lower attendance rate by planning to use April 19 as a review day so that students who miss school will not fall behind in new material. Others will continue their lessons as planned and let students who are not present make up the work upon their return.

Either way, GHS students will have a damper on their April break plans knowing that the week-and-a-half vacation now includes a brief return to school, even if it is followed by a weekend.

Although my spring recess plans don’t currently involve anything more exciting than catching up on sleep, many of my fellow juniors are using the vacation to travel around the country to visit prospective colleges. Some seniors are even getting back on the road to see schools where they were accepted and decide where they want to spend the next four years.

Hearing admissions pitches, touring campus and sitting in on classes all help high school students to visualize themselves on campus as an undergraduate. Now that vacation is no longer continuous, college visits may have to be shortened to return home a few days early.

April break is in sight, and GHS students are looking forward to a vacation of any length. Spring break is the last chance for high school students to unwind before heading into the home stretch of AP exams and finals. Whether four days or five, any vacation is better than none, and one less day off will not diminish my excitement for spring break.

 

Danielle Connolly is a junior at Greenwich High School.

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