Seniors skip yet again

This year the senior class had two different skip days within a few weeks, which had both student support and teacher opposition.

Graphic by Julia Zorc ’24

On October 28 2022, the senior class participated in their first senior skip day. Then, a week later, yet another skip day took place. This tradition is a cherished one and many students spend their whole high school careers looking forward to it. However, there is some controversy surrounding skip days at LM, with both seniors and staff on either side of the issue. Why is such a beloved tradition so contentious?

Compared to other high schools, senior skip days work very differently at LM. While it is typical for schools to have a senior skip day in May or June, LM has multiple throughout the year—this year, LM has already had two in the span of two weeks. Tiffany Kannengieszer who teaches Film and Literature is frustrated with this unusual system, stating that she “completely [understands] seniors wanting to participate, but [finds] the multiple skip days a little excessive especially this early in the year.” Computer science teacher Thomas Swope, also thinks that there are too many skip days; his high school did it very differently compared to LM. “We had one skip day for the year, and it was associated with the year that you graduated—I graduated in ’94 so we skipped the 94th day of school.” On the other hand, senior Lucas Laje believes that the issue is more nuanced, stating that, “some teachers were supportive but some even gave tests on a skip day, this led students that couldn’t skip one day want to skip on a different day one, leading to us having 3 skip days.” Laje believes that it is the responsibility of both the teachers and the students to make an agreement or compromise in order to limit the number of skip days.

Additionally, senior skip days at other schools are used as a time for seniors to spend time together. Joshua Hunnex, a music teacher, has fond memories of going to the shore with his entire senior class, and Kannengieszer recounts that “at previous schools [she has] taught at, the seniors used their skip day to do something as a grade.” On the other hand, skip days at LM are disorganized and spontaneous, with seniors unaware and many using it as a simple excuse to catch up on sleep. This lack of unity, makes attendance on senior skip days inconsistent, with about half of the seniors still showing up to class. For example, senior Amy Huang has not participated in any skip days because she “didn’t feel like skipping was worth the stress of having to make up work later.”

Because many seniors do not participate in skip days, most classes are not affected. For the most part, teachers do not plan their schedules around skip days. Alan Chen ’24 recalls that even in senior-heavy classes like AP Physics E&M or wind ensemble “we just continue our work as per usual.” Huang agrees; “if a class doesn’t consist of all seniors or if the teacher has already made lesson plans for the following days that cannot be changed… it may be necessary to give the test on a senior skip day.” Hunnex does not avoid giving work on skip days for many reasons: “all of my classes are mixed grade level, it’s too much of a headache to attempt to avoid them, and I know that most of my seniors are usually going to be present anyway.”

Although some teachers like Swope don’t like skip days at LM “because there are too many of them,” it seems that many students still support the idea of senior skip days. Laje participated in the October 28 skip day, and he believes that, “in moderation, they can be a good thing.” Additionally, although Chen’s parents “would most likely not let [him] just skip school,” he wants to participate because “it provides an outlet for any stress or anxiety that the senior year gives.” Nathan Donagi ’24 agrees; he thinks that “seniors deserve some time off, after having to deal with the stress of college applications.”

Although senior skip days are a treasured tradition for many, they have caused tension in the LM community. As Laje succinctly puts it, “a disagreement between teachers and students is unfavorable to everyone.”

close

The Merionite Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest news in your inbox, every issue.