Seniors at ZIS are notorious for having a number of traditions: the retreat to Davos, Cap and Gown Picture Day, Prom, Graduation, Prank Day and Senior Skip Day. Today, Friday March 23rd was the 2018 Senior Skip Day. However, unlike other traditions, skip day is not “sanctioned by the school…in terms of its date and rationale.” Seniors who came to school today were promised a free lunch, while others, who took the skip day, were told of detentions to come. Even though I attended the one class I had, I was marked absent in two of three of my frees, and before going to my one class was shunned in the hall by our grade level leader for my misdemeanor. As an almost straight A student with a pretty stellar attendance for my high school years (until this year because of medical reasons), I was confused by the treatment and frankly upset. Why after almost four years of hard work could I not get a sanctioned skip day?
This year I have noticed many of my friends (including myself) receive letters about our attendance. Examining our letters, my friends and I put together that what we received was sent out to those who had ten or more absences in a class, whether the absences were excused or not. These letters mentioned consequences, given further absences. After reading her letter to me, one friend complained that her letter was unwarranted. She stated that she had missed school due to physical therapy appointments for her knee, which she had injured after a bad fall from her bike, and that the school could not ask her to prioritize class over her health. She told me that all of her absences were excused, and that her assignments, in the class that she missed eleven times, were turned in on time. Today, as I thought about my own absence on Senior Skip Day, I felt the same sense of injustice that had been sparked in my friend.
Despite being critical of ZIS at times, like many others, I have tended to think of ZIS fairly highly. I see the numerous opportunities ZIS offers, whether it be academically in terms of IB or AP, or in terms of extracurriculars such as Lions Journal, or internships, through the internship program. I don’t set out to doubt the board and administration because I like to think of ZIS as being different from other schools. However, I find it disappointing when ZIS, which promotes individuality, essentially sets out to shame bright, motivated and successful students for not conforming a few days a year, to the eight hours a day, five days a week schedule. Although seniors may not be physically sick on senior skip day, after a year of IA’s, mocks, ToK essays and Extended Essays, seniors can certainly be mentally exhausted, especially after their breaks are used to complete all of these assignments. After the stress and strain of senior year, or really freshman, sophomore, junior and senior year, it would be nice for seniors to be acknowledged with a sanctioned skip day.
As I turned up for my only ‘real’ class today and encountered my teacher in the hall, I almost laughed at the irony of it all. While he said I hadn’t turned up to school because I had missed the morning, the fact that I had come to school meant that I had “skipped” my Senior Skip Day. And, unlike my other absences, I knew I would have to take this absence up with myself. Although I can skip any day in the future, it will never be my skip day. This is something I will have to reckon with, just as I will with my detention in the coming weeks. Realizing this I took to the halls to do some skipping. I decided that if could not skip school, at least I would do some skipping to make up for it.
Annabel Louise Jones (’18)
Image from: https://www.shutterfly.com/ideas/graduation-cap-ideas/