Grandparents Day removed from school hours


District 99

COOKIES, PUNCH, AND SELFIES: Class of 2016 graduate Kalyn Figiliuo takes a picture with her grandparents during the reception at the 2015 Grandparents day, which took place on Oct. 23, 2015.

Fletcher Peters, Online Editor-in-Chief

Administration has decided that this year’s Grandparents Day will not be hosted during the school day, as it has for the past four years. Principal Janice Schwarze cited that it is a disruption to classes, and concern for students who may feel uncomfortable about the event.

On Oct. 5, a survey about Grandparents Day was sent to seniors. The survey was meant to determine which changes administration should make in order to further improve the celebration. Seniors had an option to choose an activity like a game day or a gingerbread house-making event, as well as alternative times for the event, like a late arrival morning or a weeknight.

Grandparents Day was introduced by past principal Scott Kasik. For the past four years, it gave seniors the chance to introduce their grandparents to their teachers, friends, and everyday life. The day started third period with a reception in the cafeteria. The grandparents then attended class with senior students during fourth, fifth, and sixth period. The day ended with a musical performance in the auditorium.

Principal Janice Schwarze has been overseeing the change in this year’s Grandparents Day.

“We heard some students were talking to adults that they trusted, saying how it was a hard day for them because their grandparents weren’t there. Often, that was where they recently lost a grandparent, or there might be a riff in the family. It could actually be a death, or somehow there was a separation,” Schwarze said.

The bigger issue with the celebration was the interruption of classes. Students were leaving in the middle of class to celebrate with their grandparents, and this brought disruption. Along with this, teachers had to add a good number of seats to their classes to accommodate visitors.

“Of course it’s fun, but the students were being pulled out of class to have cookies and punch with their grandparents in the cafeteria. I look at that and I’m like, you’re missing AP Calc, or you’re missing whatever. Whatever you’re missing as a senior is probably an important class,” Schwarze said.

The day also put a burden on secretaries, who were tasked with creating extra elevator keys and organizing a large portion of the event.

“It was really challenging to work it into the parameters of the school day, also keeping in mind elevators and all of that stuff, because a lot of grandparents need to use those different means of getting around,” senior class board sponsor Anne Driscoll said. “It was just a really huge undertaking to fit within the school day.”

The other issue presented by Grandparents Day is its value. DGN is the only high school in the area to celebrate this day— even DGS does not celebrate anything similar.

“This was a unique position because no other schools were doing it. As we looked at it we tried to come up with our value ourselves,” Schwarze said.

While 62% of the 126 seniors who responded to the DGN survey reported that a Wednesday late start would be the best alternate time, some organizations, including Choir Board and Positively North Stars meet on these dates.

The Senior Class Board, as well as school administration, is in charge of planning this event. Senior Abby Pfeiffer was involved in the first meeting regarding the changes to Grandparents Day.

“This year would be a trial run, but if it went well then we would do [the event] every year,” Pfeiffer said. “It can’t go back to the way it was.”

Schwarze said making changes to the celebrations was a tough decision.

“Sometimes we have to make decisions that make people unhappy. It’s the worst part of the job,” Schwarze said. “But at the end of the day, it’s doubtful that taking [Grandparents Day] out would make a difference in the relationship between the grandparents and the student.”