Letter to the Editor: CHS Senior Says Days Off Are Needed

One Cinnaminson High School senior says she needs the previously scheduled days off next week for college applications and to catch up on work.


Editor's note: Cinnaminson students originally had off from school Nov. 6-9 for Election Day, a teachers' in-service day and the New Jersey Education Association Convention in Atlantic City. Students still have off Election Day but school is now in session Nov. 7-9 due to days missed from Hurricane Sandy after the convention was cancelled. Read that story here. 

To the editor:

I know I'm speaking for many students when I say that removing our days off next week is an unwanted inconvenience. 

As a result of my rigorous course load and extracurricular activities (both required to get into college), I have had very little time to write the many application essays my prospective colleges require. I was looking forward to the days off next week to have extra time to get all of my applications done, especially since they are due by Thanksgiving break in order to be sent to the schools by Christmas break. Now, with the removal of our days off, I will have little time to apply to college, adding more pressure. 

Being a senior alone is no simple task, regardless of the rigor of our course load or the classes taken individually. It is the year that decides our futures. To let a possible opportunity be missed due to a few days, would not be justified. These days can be made up elsewhere if need be.  Many of my fellow students look forward to this week as a much needed mid-semester break, and it is unfair to promise such days and then take them away.

Our days off during Hurricane Sandy were not a vacation whatsoever, and many of us are still recovering. I know several of my classmates have also scheduled vacations and college visits for this week. I understand the convention is cancelled due to the unfortunate weather situation, but us students need days off.

I am not demanding we get our days back, I just hope to communicate how important days off are to students like me. School puts enough stress on us as it is. I am trying to get in touch with the governor's office to find out the school policies during a state of emergency, and whether or not schools are required to make up school days that were cancelled during a state of emergency.

There is already no escape from school due to the piles of homework and projects assigned every single day, so a few days to work on college essays or catch up on some work would have been greatly appreciated. A break is hard to come by when you are a student in a competitive high school like CHS. 

The parents or administrators may see this as a good idea, to take away the days off, but students see it as more stress. Maybe if it wasn't so sudden we wouldn't be as upset, but we have been looking forward to the break. Days off are rare and something that all students, all human beings, need. 

Olivia D'Aiutolo
Cinnaminson High School senior 

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Kim Greenberg November 02, 2012 at 11:04 AM
You are right about the pressures on high school seniors to achieve as much as possible to keep competitive for college acceptance as well as scholarship opportunities. Unfortunately the federal guidelines mandate 180 days for all students per year including seniors. It may have been advantageous for you to begin your college essays over the summer break. This would have reduced some of the stress you are feeling.
Lynzers November 02, 2012 at 11:33 AM
As stated earlier, many families have made non-refundable travel plans, and while the severe weather was not anticipated, the notice is very last minute. I believe that if many students continue with their prior plans, and the classroom attendance is below a certain percentage, the school day(s) would not count.
JS November 02, 2012 at 11:39 AM
You have days off. They are called "weekends". Not to mention that you still have Tuesday off. Just call this unfortunate incident "preparation for adulthood". Life happens. Instead of whining, why don't you be happy and thankful that you have a house in which to write your essays. Not sure how seniors (and others) in shelters are feeling in other parts of the state right now, but I'm sure missing their days off is not high on their priority lists.
Gentleman Jim November 02, 2012 at 11:56 AM
Why are you complaining? You have lost nothing. The three unexpected days off you gained this week have been replaced by three unexpected days on next week. The net days at school remain the same. Don't take advantage of a real tragedy for many people of our state who have lost power, property, and god forbid loved ones. Your problems are clearly time management and self absorbtion. Shame on you.
Marlene November 02, 2012 at 12:13 PM
I commend you for writing to stand up for yourself. It is unfortunate others have negative things to say to you. Fight for your needs and do what you can, then you can be at ease that you have done whatever you could. Most people will complain but not do anything to make it better. Your fight should be commended rather than criticized. I imagine your determination will help you to be successful in life no matter the outcome of these days.
Maury November 02, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Well-written letter, young lady. "Shame on her" Gentlemen Jim? Shame on you for calling out a young lady with an opinion who wrote an excellent letter on a subject she feels strongly about. It's students like this who are our future. When you were in high school, were you stressing over college acceptance letters or drinking behind the convenience store? This young lady should be commended for sticking up for what she believes in. You berate the editor, you berate the people who work for the Patch and now you're going to berate a 17-year-old girl? She's just asking that the school consider making up the days elsewhere and that this time of year is crucial. You people saying she's not an adult make me question a lot of things. This is probably one of the most "adult" things she's ever gone. Olivia, kudos to you. And good luck.
Eileen November 02, 2012 at 12:27 PM
“Gentleman Jim”? - you’ve provided an excellent oxymoron! Olivia – thanks for sharing your viewpoint
ML November 02, 2012 at 12:35 PM
You should have written them over the summer like many hard working students did. I have a Senior who had all of his applications submitted by October 25. He too has a full course load and extra curricular activites. Think about the students along the coast who do not have homes to go home to, they are the ones that need the extra time, not you....you should have been working on them during your days off this week!
Gentlewoman November 02, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Shame on all of the responders who have attacked the high school senior who is concerned about having her college applications completed in the best fashion possible. For good students, weekends are not days off; they are days filled with school work and sports/activities. I do not view this senior as self-absorbed, but rather concerned about her future. She is not diminishing the suffering of others, whereas the negative responders with their nasty comments clearly are begrudging her the time she, and other seniors, need. She didn’t convey that she had not started her applications and to properly perform the process can be equivalent to a full-time job. Also, I would not view Mon-Wed as days off comparable to the ones scheduled next week, because as mentioned, they were unexpected and people were trapped in their homes for Mon. and Tues. (some without power). I know I wasn't able to concentrate on completing any work during the storm. I am not necessarily commenting on the school district's decision to have school next week because they need to make difficult decisions. I am commenting on the rude and uneducated responses regarding the viewpoint of the high school senior above. Good luck with your essays..I'm routing for you.
Nancy VanTwistern November 02, 2012 at 01:52 PM
True, Kim, BUT I would bet that was something that yu didn't do either?? I remember..............too soon old and too late smart, as my Grandmother used to say.
Nancy VanTwistern November 02, 2012 at 01:54 PM
AAAHHH, Marlene......please don't add to the excuses.........but we all know and have experienced similar situations....life goes on..........the more things change the more things don't change.........don't know who said that but remember hearing sometime?????????????
Dan November 02, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Well written letter but you could of done an essay in that time ha You really think the teacher of your burdensome senior courses (ha) have anything planned for these days? Doubt it. Write the essays in class! Now you are done. Problem solved. Or better yet stay home and write them. Love the comments like she is standing up for civil rights or something haha
CL November 02, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Stop making excuses! It is called time management and a apparently do you know have that if you are complaining about this. You could of started writing one instead of writing this pointless letter. It is short notice but would you rather have days taken from your winter or spring break? I don't think so then you would be complaining that you don't have time to pick your college because you now have school. It's cold outside it's not like you were going to play outside! I commend the school for picking these days its an easy fix and save a lot of parents on money and time off to watch their kids. It is suppose to be a bad winter with lots of snow so this is the best decision for the school and it is saving you days off in nicer weather. Also i'm sure you don't want graduation to be changed to make the days up so just suck it up and maybe don't spend so much time with your boyfriend and do your essays! Just a thought!
amd November 02, 2012 at 03:07 PM
She did work on them during the days off this week, when we had wifi because everything is done online. Also during the 2 days off she was reading an entire chapter for AP History, preparing for an AP Spanish test and helping her elderly grandparents clean up from the hurricane which included a downed tree. Even though they weren't in school, homework was still being assigned in some of her classes. She also worked on them during the summer while working a full time babysitting job, reading a book for AP history, writing an essay for that book, reading a 60 page chapter of her history textbook and preparing to take a test on that chapter the first week of school, reading a book for AP Lit, writing a read and response journal and an essay, reading a book in Spanish, answering questions on every chapter of that book in Spanish, writing an essay on that book in Spanish, completing a Spanish grammar packet, completing an 60 question AP Stat packet and beginning August 1st coaching a pop warner cheer squad. I'm sorry she did take a week's vacation. I guess she could've skipped that & been more of a hard working student. Congratulations to your son for completing all his applications. Hopefully all the schools he applied to require the common application which makes it an easier process. When you apply to schools with supplements there are at least 5 or 6 essay questions required to be answered. Also, her lit teacher was reviewing the essay & only returned it this week.
Maury November 02, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Olivia, These people are hiding behind their computers and fake names. None of these people have the guts to do what you did. I would like to shake your hand. You are a hard-working young lady with a wonderful future ahead of you. That's more than these people can say. It astounds me-the level of your maturity and the level of their immaturity. So, taking 10 minutes to write a letter to the editor is equal to taking hours to write a college essay. How ignorant of you people. Olivia-I went to the University of Penn and worked my butt off to get there. You will do wonderful things.
doubler November 02, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Unfortunately Olivia we have a lot of curmudgeons (man &/ or woman) in this Twp. Great job stepping up to voice your opinion on this subject. Don't listen to these negative "adults" most won't probably take the time to vote and they have nothing to do.I also agree that your point of the decision being last minutes really affects many people. They could have extended the school year on the backend and then adjust accordingly if there were any snow days. Now I'm going to teacher bash but,their convention was called off so they figure why not just work. Personally i believe conventions should be held in the summer then we'll see how many will attend, but adjusting the school year on the end would have been more convenient for many. They could have used those of days to schedule a few more night time conferences which would also help many parents schedule.
Christina Paciolla (Editor) November 02, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Commenting has been shut down on this item since commenters have decided to move away from the subject of the article and are now commenting on the author. It's inappropriate and we're shutting down comments. If anyone wants to write a letter on the district's decision, email it to me at christina.paciolla@patch.com.


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