Monday, November 18, 2019
US flag

Close to water, “senioritis” takes on new meaning

Senioritis may have many so-called “causes” and even a few symptoms, writes Jenny Matute in yesterday’s edition of The Stanwich Post, the student newspaper at the Stanwich School, a private school in Greenwich, Connecticut.


Ocean City, Md. (bayside and oceanside)

“Causes include preparation for graduation, acceptance into college and other external factors like … nice weather,” she writes. “Symptoms include a decline in motivation and performance in class—which can actually be very real.”

Seniors at the school picked a day last month to skip, setting teachers’ minds a little at ease, given the inevitability of a “senior day.”

“The seniors deserve credit for choosing a day at a time of year that made sense,” explained one teacher, who asked to remain anonymous. “No one would suffer academically and it happened to be a 60 degree day!”

That’s thanks to an extremely warm February, the second-warmest in the last 120 or so years, according to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.

At least it gets warm now before summer actually starts.

For next year’s seniors in Maryland, summer may be pushed back even further, thanks to an executive order by Gov Larry Hogan requiring all public schools, except those that had obtained a very limited waiver from the state school board, to start their school year after Labor Day, beginning this fall.

The order has cut the occasional midyear break short. For students in Harford County, like those at Patterson Mill High School in Bel Air, Maryland, where they would typically get the entire week of Thanksgiving off, the mandated change is somewhat welcome.

That begs the question: Given Maryland’s miles and miles of coastline, when, if ever, will “senior day” be next year at a school like Patterson Mill?

One junior at the school told The Patterson Press that having fewer days off during the school year will allow students to “take advantage of the school year” and give them “a longer summer—especially the seniors.” (Seniors typically end their school year a few days before other students, allowing for graduation ceremonies in late May or early June.)

At least one teacher at the high school, however, sees the change as mostly inconsequential though highly politicized.

Janet Breen, who teaches Spanish, says she has no strong opinion about the executive order, because “we’re going to go 180 days no matter what.” And while she appreciates not having an entire week off for Thanksgiving, she also says, “This change is a political thing about teachers’ unions and what they want versus what [state comptroller] Peter Franchot wants to support Ocean City,” reports Emma Cenicacelaya in the student newspaper.

The executive order, which was opposed by the state’s school superintendents but had strong popular support among voters, was largely seen as an attempt to encourage families to spend a few more days in the vacation town of Ocean City during the warm summer before Labor Day and not have to worry about getting ready for school in August every summer.

“Maryland isn’t going to be getting any more money from me,” Ms Breen was quoted as saying. I have also questioned the wisdom of the executive order from a business perspective—and for the same reason: If a family, say, decides they’re going to go to Ocean City one week this summer, I don’t see how pushing the start date to school back a week or two will encourage them to spend any more days or any more dollars in Ocean City than they had intended.

They might spend those days later in the summer, but that won’t change how much money the state or tourist businesses make. We’ll see how the numbers turn out after this year, I guess.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

Recent posts

Girls’ volleyball champs in Illinois

We congratulate the Illinois state champions in girls' volleyball: Newark, St Teresa, Sterling, & Benet Academy.

A weekend of ‘band geeks’ across America

The musical Band Geeks was in performance at a MD high school, just as marching bands from across America named a national champion.

2 dead, 3 wounded in Calif. school shooting

Another school shooting has resulted in the death of 2 California high school students. The suspect shot himself and is in custody.

Mercury makes a transit; next in 2032

A transit of Mercury occurred today and was visible from the US, provided you had sunny skies. It was one of longest possible transits.

On the Naperville BWW racist incident

A racist incident at a Naperville, IL, sports bar indicates that the threads of racism are strong, perhaps as strong as ever.

IL bill could excuse absences to vote

A proposed law in IL could give students up to two hours during the school day so they could vote in the upcoming election.

Loan forgiveness gains some bipartisan support

One Republican from GA, who used to work under Betsy DeVos at the US Education Dept, offers a plan to forgive some student loan debt.

A band teacher is IL Teacher of the Year

IL named a band teacher the 2020 Teacher of the Year on Oct. 19. He individualizes music instruction and shares his work with 1000s.

‘Little Shop of Horrors’ bookends Halloween

Several high schools have decided to add a little spook to their musical stages in this season of Halloween. Music makes it happen.

New IL law ensures inclusion of LGBTQ+

A law will take effect next school year in IL that will require students to study LGBTQ history as part of the social studies curriculum.

MoCo doubles down on summer learning loss

Research is at least equivocal about summer learning loss, but maybe there's something to a new plan in Montgomery County, Md.