Students scatter on first Friday offEighth-grader Willis O’Neil basked in the glory of not having school on a Friday this year, declaring the day off “awesome” as he played a bowling video game with residents at Sunrise on Superior.
Eighth-grader Willis O’Neil basked in the glory of not having school on a Friday this year, declaring the day off “awesome” as he played a bowling video game with residents at Sunrise on Superior. It was one of many events planned to keep students busy in the community as the district goes to a four-day school week.
The events are voluntary – O’Neil said most of his classmates were sleeping Friday morning – but many students were seen around Two Harbors and Silver Bay as the schools went dark for the first Friday of the year.
Twenty-five students went on an excursion to Camp House in Brimson while 22 went to Hartley Nature Center and the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Tweed Museum of Art. A few young students could be found in the Kids and Company room at Minnehaha Elementary. Community Education Director Chris Olafson-Langenbrunner said in the future they may require all Kids and Company students to go on field trips.
The only other person at Minnehaha was custodian John Libal. Some custodians will be working Fridays to take care of maintenance without students under foot. Libal said he now has time to fix things like the leaking toilet and sink Friday. He can turn the water off if he has to. He said he would normally have to wait until the holidays to fix such things.
“It’s the best thing that could ever happen to us,” Libal said.
Students could also be found at the old Two Harbors High School football field as the girls soccer team practiced.
“It gives them some freedom,” head coach Jeff Peterson said. The team has practice from 8-10 a.m.
The players felt the same as their coach. Lindsay Anderson, an injured freshman on the team, said she planned on going to cheerleading practice later in the day and eventually the football game that night. Anderson said she hasn’t been given more homework due to the extended weekend.
As for the negatives, Anderson said the team normally practices Monday-Thursday until 6 p.m., which she said is kind of late.
Maire McMahon, a senior on the soccer team who is also out with an injury, said she planned to work at Betty’s Pies later that day. “It’s really nice,” she said of the four-day week. “We get more information during the class day.”
At Two Harbors High School, the Nucleus Jazz Band was practicing for a combined halftime show with college students at 6 p.m. Saturday during the University of Minnesota Duluth football game against Bemidji State. They will also perform together during the Agates’ homecoming game against Pine City Oct. 1.
“The message has always been, at least from me, that the buildings will be available, but the lights and heat will be minimal,” Superintendent Phil Minkkinen said. “The kids are allowed in the buildings for scheduled events, but we are not allowing kids to linger in the buildings without a purpose for being here.”
Libal said custodians can control temperatures in different areas of the school to conserve energy.
Faculty have also been enjoying the four-day week.
“Teachers felt they are a little ahead of the game,” THHS Principal Brett Archer said at a school board meeting last week. Other principals reported similar feelings and said they haven’t heard any complaints.