Snow days spark excitement for students


Photo courtesy of Josh Heimlich.

Alec Lehtman goes biking through the snow with Josh Heimlich during a snow day.

By Rachel Mattison, Online Editor

During the cold months of winter, while school is hard and days are short, there is one thought that causes excitement and warmth to fill the halls: snow days. 

The 2020-2021 school year proved to be one of change, lost traditions and missed memories in many ways. One effect was the loss of a simple joy: a snow day canceling school. As students attended virtual school from their homes every day, MCPS saw no need to institute snow days. The reason for MCPS to cancel school is that it is unsafe due to the weather and road conditions to get to the school building. Given that there was no impact of snow weather events on student’s ability to log onto their computers, snow days were a thing of the past. 

Now that school is back in person, snow days are back. In the month of January there have been four snow days, each causing eager anticipation ahead of them, a break for a day and a time of freedom. 

“As soon as I see the snow icon on my weather app I start getting excited at the possibility of a snow day,” WCHS sophomore Sophie Myers said. “You can feel the buzz from both students and teachers in the days leading up to when it is supposed to snow, everyone making their predictions and anxiously hoping.”

The first snow days of the year did not have an opportunity for in-school excitement preceding them as they came following winter break. Perfect timing in the minds of students – the snow waited until they were supposed to go back to extend their vacation for them. 

“Having the snow days after winter break was such nice timing,” WCHS sophomore Lyndee Sklute said. “I had geared up for going back to school but then I didn’t have to. It let me truly enjoy those days and maximize my break while also giving an easier adjustment back since we didn’t have to go for a full week.”

An especially exciting aspect of the first two snow days of the year was that it was a solid snow storm. Since snow days are for safety purposes,  MCPS often cancels school but the snow is not enough to play in. The first storm of the year brought 4.5 inches to Potomac – plenty for winter fun and pretty scenery.

“Normally on a snow day I sleep in and then open my blinds to see how much snow there is,” WCHS senior Morgan Stolker said. “Then I take the rest of the day at a slow pace because I can truly just relax. My favorite activity to do is go sledding, because of the thrill. [W]hen I’m on a sled, it truly feels like a snow day.”

Sledding is not the only snow day activity. Many students enjoy staying inside and watching movies or going outside to have snowball fights. 

“On the second snow day I went skiing for the day with my friend,” Myers said. “We were free with no plans and conditions were great, so we took a day trip. It was amazing to just hang out, relax and have fun all day long.”

During a time in life filled with so many requirements, pressure, and the need to “grow up,” snow days are truly a time for high schoolers to have innocent fun and make lasting memories. 

“After sleeping in, I spent the day biking in the snow with my friends,” WCHS junior Alec Lehtman said. “We didn’t really have an agenda, we just hung out and biked in the woods. It was a lot of fun to mess around and make our own fun, definitely different from the structure and intensity of school.”

Not only do snow days provide opportunities for fun adventures, they also offer a pause on the monotony and struggles of school. 

“Snow days let me just enjoy a day of doing whatever is best for me and are a great stress reliever,” Lehtman said. “If I am behind on school work, they put a pause on everything and let me just catch up. If I need to sleep more, I can do that. Since we don’t know about them ahead of time, it’s a spontaneous moment of happiness that really makes students feel better.”

There have been some proposals that snow days should be a thing of the past now that MCPS has learned how to do virtual learning. The thought is that when it is not safe to come in person to school, students could just log in online for that day. 

“I really think we need to keep ‘true’ snow days,” Myers said. “They are such a bright spot in the winter, and I don’t really think it is feasible for teachers to flip back and forth to in person learning.”

Classic snow days have been filled with relaxation, family time and lots of fun. In a year that has been filled with so much uncertainty, the snow days that have pervaded January have truly lifted the spirit of the WCHS community.

“I have consumed so much hot chocolate in January because during a snow day I drink multiple cups of it,” Stolker said. “It is my snow day tradition to sled with my brothers and then we drink peppermint hot chocolate – it has given me great memories this month.”

Keep flushing ice down the toilets, wearing pajamas inside out and doing snow dances and hopefully, the abundance of snow will continue giving WCHS students more snow days to eagerly await.