Turning a new leaf: A take on Thanksgiving break


Photo provided by Rose Doss – Reynolds campus leaves are turning and falling as students wait for dismissal for Thanksgiving Break.

Rose Doss, Staff Writer

    When thinking about the Thanksgiving break, anticipation ignites in stomachs; plans, sleepovers, and spending time away takes over students’ minds as everyone awaits the final bell to ring. Excitement is in the RJ Reynolds air but is quickly silenced when the teacher announces to have fun on the “shortened break.” The whole class groans as everyone is reminded of the schedule changes this year. 

    “Students are resilient,” Principal Calvin Freeman said. “You know, we might hear some pushback, or we might hear some agreement, but then we get to the point where it becomes “well, it is what it is,” and so we have to do it, and here’s what we’re going to do, and we’ll make it happen.”

    Principal Freeman is all for breaks and welcomes any chance that students can get time off. Students can either have negative or positive feedback towards the shortened thanksgiving break, but in reality, it’s still time away from school. 

     “I think any break affects stress levels in a positive way,” Freeman said. “That’s me speaking and taking for granted that for some kids, being at school is their safe haven. So for those kids, it might add to their stress levels. But, as it relates to the stress levels of school, any break is good. If we can space breaks out and we can have breaks more frequently I think that’s good for all of our mental health.” 

    For kids who deal with challenging home life, school can be more of a home than others, so the shortened break is more than welcomed because they would rather be at school. School board member Leah Crowley is passionate about this perspective. 

    “It was kind of crazy what some of these kids were dealing with,” Leah Crowley said. “Truly, school is their ideal environment. That’s why they look forward to going because it’s all those things. It’s safe, it’s warm, it’s conducive to learning. And their home environments are just not conducive to learning.”

    Scheduling was also a big topic discussed and not an easy decision for the school board to make. Crowley knew that not everyone was going to be happy with the schedule made. 

    “Have we surveyed staff, students, and parents to see if this is what they want? Yes, and overwhelmingly staff and students wanted it,” Crowley said. “They love the week-long break. Parents, not so much. And that was because a lot of parents worked and they didn’t want to use a week’s vacation at Thanksgiving. They expect to use a week over winter break, and they want to use a week in the summer.”

    To kids, a long break is wanted, but to parents who have to pay the bills…not so much. 

     “A lot of them don’t get three weeks of vacation. So, then the burden gets put back on them. Now they have to find child care for these days, and there’s always an expense tied to that,” Crowley said. Overwhelmingly parents said no, we don’t want a week off at Thanksgiving.”

    When choosing the schedules, the school board thought more about parents and money spent than students getting their wanted time off. The board also wants to find a way to sync Thanksgiving break with college schedules, but Crowley believes that won’t happen for a while. 

    The study body has different opinions on what the schedule length should be. Senior Savannah Becker seems to have different ideas than most on a Thanksgiving break, making her reasons intriguing.      

“I’d rather have a half week because I’d rather have a longer break of no school during Christmas since it’s halfway through the year,” Savannah Becker said. 

    Students were able to vote on varying schedules contrasting breaks that included different lengths of time off for Thanksgiving, Winter, and Spring break. When given the opportunity Becker voted for a longer Winter break. 

    There was different feedback when voting, but overall the response was turned over to the parents.

    Whether it’s a week or three days, the length of Thanksgiving break will never please everyone. What’s most important is who the break affects and why the break happens in the first place. People dealing with poverty, poor mental health, and struggling to find child care are all important factors when deciding on a break schedule. Maybe next time when the break isn’t exactly the length you want, think about the things you do have, and what could come out of the break. After all, there’s always something to be thankful for.