Tradition taken too far?

Senior skip day

Tradition taken too far? Every so often when you walk into school, you look around and something feels missing, there is an extra sense of quietness when you enter your classes. A feeling of something out of place creeps into your mind until you realize all of your favorite seniors are missing. Whether it’s out of laziness or tradition, any opportunity to validate skipping a day of school is taken. Every year the “Senior Skip Days” are picked and the calendars are marked in anticipation. 

The “Ditch Day” has been an American tradition among seniors in high school. There is no agreed upon origin for this event, but it can be dated back to at least the 1930s. However, it was popularized with the release of the classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The movie emphasized the fun of skipping school, showing the main character using his time off to party and hang out with friends. This film acted as a catalyst for the normalization of “ditch days” among high school students. 

This day was once a near holiday, traditionally falling on the Monday after prom.  Now it has almost become a habit, occurring too frequently to retain its same importance. This year alone, there have been two skip days already, and there are projections of many more to come. Usually serving to extend a break of time off from school, these days are decided amongst the students. A message is communicated among the seniors, and as simple as that, 150 to 200 kids are missing from school the next day. This begs the question of how such an absence affects the teachers and what the real benefit to the students is.

Regarding the opinion of seniors, Rachel Zhang ’22 gives some interesting
insight. When asked about her opinion on “Senior Skips Days,” Rachel Zhang responded, “I don’t participate in it but I kind of love the vibes of no one in school.” This brings up another consequence of a skip day: the work one might miss. It might be simpler for some students to go into school given the catch-up they would have to do anyways if they missed a day. Additionally, many seniors like the routine of the school day and the minimal days they have before they leave. It is clear that for a multitude of reasons, one might in an ironic way choose to pass or skip a senior skip day. 

Following a similar stream of thought, Janet Spingarn ’22 comments, “I wish they were more organized, so that it wasn’t like seven different days when maybe half the senior class is out.” Janet Spingarn highlights an important issue that has come up with these days becoming less organized. They have lost the importance that they once held in the traditional sense, when they once acted as a holiday that everyone looked forward to. However, the benefits have not been lost in regards to student mental health. Janet Spingarn went on to say, “It’s during a stressful time so we just have a day off that makes sense mental health wise.” These days can provide an opportunity for students to catch up on college essays and applications. 

However, these skip days are also negatively affecting teachers. French teacher Madame Vargas stated that “there is too little organization due to lack of communication among the students regarding these days. I find that they come at a surprise and are disruptive to my lesson plan.” This poses a perspective that the student body needs to take into consideration if they plan to make these days more frequent. 

This special day that has been glorified in the media is normalized in our school community. Along with this normalization comes the issue of communicating when these days are happening and what purpose they really hold. To conclude, these days are a “no harm no foul” situation for those who choose to participate in them or for those who choose to come in. It is indisputable that these days will continue to be a tradition amongst LM seniors for years to come.

senior skip day classrooms(exaggerated) | Graphic by Emma Liu ’22 /Staff
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