Snow days cause uncertainty about graduation, last day of school

By Cassie Kreider

So far this school year, there have been 10 snow days, which has a lot of students wondering when their last day of school will be. Or, for the seniors, when they’ll graduate.

“We will do everything we can to keep school from going beyond the second week of June.” said Dr. Mike Leichliter, district superintendent, on how makeup days will be scheduled.

Dr. Leichliter says that scheduling graduation will be challenging.

“We have a contract with F&M, and they are limited on availability for the seven days after June 4 (Hempfield’s graduation night).” Franklin and Marshall has an alumni event that closes down the facility starting June 5.

Right now, the tentative last day for everyone else, if there are not any more snow days between now and mid-March, is June 12.

The end of the school year is, “contingent on final board and Pennsylvania Department of Education approvals. It is also contingent on us not getting any more snow days. I will not put out a definitive ‘last day’ until about the second week of March this year,” said Dr. Leichliter.

Senior Sarah Zerfoss isn’t looking to stay at Penn Manor any longer than she has to. Zerfoss will be one of the many students leaving for boot camp at the end of May.

“I have better things to do than be at school longer than necessary when I need to get ready for a career,” said Zerfoss.

Zerfoss said that because she’s leaving at the end of May, she isn’t walking at graduation and therefore does not care when graduation is.

Zerfoss explains that the boot camp she is attending is 12 weeks long.  “

They train you in  running, combat (weapons, hand to hand) and, discipline.  We graduate at the end, and get a military ID and what not.”

She’s going in as a career, which means she will come out of boot camp as an E2 (Private).

The administration explained that the snow days will not affect students who are leaving for boot camp.

“Nothing changes,” said Dr. Leichliter. “We have always permitted students to leave for the military early, if necessary, even when we get out of school in early June.”

Senior Olivia Bailey is also not too keen on the thought of extra school days.

“As long as we don’t go too long I won’t be too upset,” said Bailey.

Bailey has plans to go to England at the end of June, and while she doesn’t think school will be extended until then, she’s still worried.

Senior Lydia Selman is also planning on leaving the United States for England and France at the end of June.

Seniors like Bailey and Selman with trips scheduled will be fine because the school will continue to process pre-planned trip forms.

Senior Alyson Stewart says that she hopes the graduation date will be, “the first or early second week of school.”

Currently, no official announcement has been made about the date for graduation.

“As long as seniors graduate before the second or third week of June, making up the days shouldn’t be too hard,” said Stewart. “Plus, some days (we missed) were right before or after a holiday/weekend so a lot of people probably think that there are more days to deal with than there really are.”

Some students may have heard that the school day will be extended, but that option won’t change much with the amount of school missed.

Dr. Leichliter explained that extending the school day 20 minutes “would still put the last day of school in the second week of June since it would take about a month to get enough time to reduce school by a day.  We will explore that option but it really does not help us much.”

Dr. Leichliter encourages seniors to draw their attention to the information on the district website about graduation.