By Mark Dano –
While students rock the latest trends, Penn Manor teachers have developed a fad of their own.
They call it “Casual Friday.”
Teachers at Penn Manor pay a small fee ranging from $5 to $10 to dress in more laid-back clothing. The proceeds raised from these days are donated to various charities or school related clubs or activities.
But it’s not all fun and games since the number of “dress down” days has reached an all time high and the price for all the giving and casual wear can add up.
“There are definitely more [dress down days] now than there were five years ago,” said teacher John Erisman.
Each week is for a different cause. Those who wish to collect the proceeds propose their plan for the money to the school administration. Principal Phil Gale and the administration have the final say as to who runs each casual Friday.
“It’s always for a school-related club or activity, or for an organization,” said Gale.
With many quality places to donate money, these days occur frequently.
“We try to have one or two a month,” said Gale, “but sometimes they happen more often.”
There have been a couple of these days so far this year.
“There’s been one for post-prom, one for the football team and one with the field hockey team for breast cancer,” said Gale.
There are two reasons that most teachers choose to participate in these days.
“I don’t like wearing a shirt and tie,” explained biology teacher Matthew Fox, “and I like giving money.”
Not participating has became a fashion faux-pas among teachers.
“I’ve had to endure a constant stream of ridicule,” said Nick Swartz, forensic science teacher at Penn Manor, who did not participate in one Casual Friday. “Both teachers and students have been making jokes about it all day.”
With the increasing number of dress down days, some teachers have cut back their participation.
“It’s almost overkill,” said teacher Melissa Frerichs, who held her own Casual Friday for breast cancer recently. “Teachers have started to choose the days where they can best connect to the fundraiser or charity.”
Even though he dresses down on Casual Friday, Fox can understand why some teachers may choose not to.
“It’s not cheap,” said Fox. “When you add it up, it’s about $70-100 if you participate in all of them.”
Nonetheless, these days have had much success and will continue throughout the year.
“I’d guess about 60-70 percent of the teachers participate,” said Gale. “Each one (dress down day) raises anywhere from $250-500.”