A story of an extended school day


Tony Kerr, Reporter

It was one winter morning on December 14. A seemingly regular school day, little snow on the ground in the small town of Corry, Pennsylvania. The students began their routine of getting to school as slowly as possible without being late. They were in no rush. It was a Wednesday and the students were all ready for the weekend and winter break (myself included). Little did we know, we were in for a big surprise. As we were getting into school, receiving our breakfast, and mentally preparing ourselves for the day, we heard unbelievable news. The weather had rapidly changed into a winter blizzard and the snow was coming down inches in just minutes. At this rate we were going to be trapped at the school.

Well it was decided that it would be too dangerous to send the students home in this weather. So the school board decided to extend the school day until Thursday, then have the rest of Thursday and Friday off. The students were very disappointed to hear this news, but there was little to be done. Each class was now going to be four hours long instead of the usual forty-five minutes. There were naturally no after school activities either. The planned leave time was going to be roughly 12:30 PM the next evening on Thursday, assuming the snow was able to be cleared fast enough. The plowers were being paid a lot of overtime to work through the night to make this possible.

So first block it is then, it was going to be a very long day. Most of the teachers were gearing down for winter break and were not expecting this very interesting turn of events. Least of all Mr. Benzel, my first period teacher. He teaches a basic computer programming class. Most of my classmates were already done with the work for his class, so Mr. Benzel tasked us with making the most interesting or useful computer program we could. Given our four hour long class period, nobody made anything too complicated as we knew we were going to need to save our brain power for later in the day. At the end of the block it was decided that my program, a very space efficient file system, was by far the most useful. While Dominik Brink had made the most interesting, being a short video game.

Time for the second block at 12:30 PM. This block and third block were usually combined for me and a handful of other students who attended college level classes from Gannon. Our classes were Criminal Justice and Public Speaking. Normally we alternated days between the two. Today was Criminal Justice with Mr. Hardner. Of course he was already headed to Corry when the storm hit. Luckily he made it safely to the school. He attended the full eight hour class. We worked on mostly fun stuff covering law and order. It was very serious work, but Mr. Hardner always found a way to make it fun and interesting.

Fourth block rolled around at 8:30 PM. We had briefly taken intermission and had a large dinner to cover for the rest of the time we would be at the school. This was uneventful. I talked to my friends who were going on about their long days and how they could not wait to go home. I thought it was kind of fun, though. So did my nearest friend at my table, MacKenzie Gordon. Mainly because she enjoyed Mr. Hardner’s class very much. After our food, it was time for English class with Mrs. Reynolds. She had planned on watching the movie 1984 over several days, so instead we just watched it the entire time. At the end of the movie the block was not quite over so we chose to discuss the movie and our opinions of what could have been done better and our general thoughts about it.

Fifth block, one of my favorites. It is Intro to Psychology with Mr. Woods. He definitely pre-plans at least some of his jokes to be lined up with whatever topic we are covering for the week. One of them being about how he got to see us for a whole day, while we were covering how humans perceive time. This worked out because the class had started a little early because of all the fourth block classes having run out of material for the day. The class went from 11:45 PM to 4:30 AM. Most of the students in Mr. Woods’ class seemed content with the lesson of how humans understand time. It was a pretty large topic to cover, but we managed it with periodic breaks of conversation in between subtopics.

Now, time for sixth block with Mrs. Happoldt. She teaches a few different math classes, and I have her for Pre-Calculus. This would definitely be the class that we were saving all that brain power for. It really seemed like Mrs. Happoldt had planned for this to happen, and managed to make use of the entire class period from 4:30 AM to 8:30 AM. Reviewing math topics ranging from completing the square of a polynomial to inversing functions. One of my favorite lines from her was “Stay awake children, I’m still teaching!”

Finally the end of the day had arrived. It is the seventh block of the day. Which I have with Mr. McBriar who teaches our Newspaper class. It was decided by an all in favor vote that we would go around the school getting students and teachers opinions of how the day went. We had lots of time, but we still split up into small groups to cover more ground. That way we could come back together at the end and get an article published about our extended school day before the weekend. Me and a few of my fellow journalists were tasked with covering the CTC wing of the school. In which we asked many students and teachers. A few to note were Mr. Carey and Mr. Lesher. Mr. Carey seemed very tired after a long day’s work but he said that “I believe we were very efficient in our teaching and I feel that we got a lot done today.” While Mr. Lesher had a slightly different opinion with the middle school students. That being “The amount of students that I wanted to defenestrate was quite a bit higher than normal.” Normally he taught in the middle school hallway, but he decided to be done for the day and took his seventh block class to the gym for some basketball and a game of two ball in which he also participated in for one round and completely dominated while doing so. As we were all finished up we headed back to Mr. McBriar’s room to assemble our story. We got to hear about some of the other students and teachers’ opinions of the day as we collectively wrote the article. Then right as we hit publish, the PA system came on and dismissed everyone to get ready to go home exactly as previously planned at 12:30 PM on Thursday.