2014.02.26 Richard Arquette: No year beats 1982 for school closings

Being a Morenci graduate of the Class of 1982, there is one record that my fellow classmates and I share which will never be broken and forever hold true in the history books. This record will forever give us bragging rights to both our kids and grandkids.

No, it was not some fantastic football record; as I recall our football team finished with a 5-4 record that year. It was not the size of our class, although we were one of the largest classes to move through the system and graduated 75 students that year.

It certainly was not the fact that our class managed to go through four years of high school without ever winning a float contest. I am certain other classes through the years have managed that feat as well. Our class was more focused on the fun factor of homecoming, not building floats.

The record I allude to has to do with the weather. You see, although the blizzard of 1978 gets all the hoopla (Rosemary Tursak would be proud of the use of a college vocabulary word), it was the winter of 1982 that set the most important record of all. That year we were the recipients of 20 snow days. We had seven weekends in a row that storm fronts moved in causing the school to close its doors for several days following each weather event. I know there were many students caught off guard the eighth Monday when we finally had to return to school.

Missing a whole month worth of school, especially in your senior year of high school, was a fantastic way to end one’s high school career. As far as I know, not a single one of us suffered any post-high school trauma from missing that much school. No one that I am aware of was denied entry to college, the military, or denied entry into the work force for such a scanty school attendance record.

While I am certain there were learning opportunities missed out on because of the missed days, I have not gone through life feeling 20 days more stupid than my peers. You see, if I had used the word “stupider,” which is really not a word, you might have had a point about missing that many school days in one year. Thanks Rosey T for preparing me for college and life by demanding the very best writing skills I could muster.

The only ill effects I remember at the time came from working with the yearbook staff as the editor and trying to make up for all the lost time to get our “Revista” out with enough copy to fill the pages. That was a real challenge.

How can I know this record will stand for the eternity of time?  We were the last class to proceed through school with the “Act of God” law. This law basically stated that as long as school was called off due to an Act of God, we did not have to make up those days. Any class since then and into the foreseeable future has, and will have, to make up those snow days.

So go ahead and brag, I do.   

– Richard Arquette Class of 1982

Adrian, Mich.

Snow day tally:

Thirteen days missed in Fayette, 17 in Morenci—so far.

That’s the count as of last Friday for days of school canceled in the current academic year due to weather problems.

Michigan schools have six days forgiven by state law and Morenci has made up two additional days, leaving a deficit of nine days.

Superintendent of Schools Mike McAran is hoping to reduce that total before the end of the regular school year, but there’s still all of March yet to go with its possibility of snow and ice.

Fayette reduced its deficit to 12 days last week when a day was made up on President's Day, but then came another cancelation.

"Of those 13 days, five are forgiven by the state and three more were completed through blizzard bags," said superintendent Erik Belcher.

That leaves the district with a deficit of five days, but state officials are considering granting an additional four days that won't have to be made up. Teachers would still be required to work two of those days.

The proposal would also allow a district to add some time onto the school day to help cut the shortfall. Who knows—school may end on time in Fayette.