After five consecutive days of 8am wake ups to attend seven-hour class days, the junior class arrived early on Saturday to compete in an exhilarating competition. For our most recent Pelican Day, we took part in the intellectually stimulating yet athletically challenging egg drop contest. These mandatory Saturday activities, which occur every few weeks, most often consist of useless, inefficiently-run activities that could easily be condensed into a shorter amount of time.
On the Friday before, less than 24 hours prior to the riveting egg drop, we as a class found out that the speaker who was supposed to present had to cancel, and that an alternative program would take place. Instead of aborting the Pelican Day to give students a break and some much-needed sleep to recover from the week, our deans insisted on participating in a collaborative activity that was merely a way to pass time.
Although it sounds like the egg-drop activity had good intentions, nearly all Loomis students are involved in a variety of extracurriculars in which they already learned these skills, each and every day. Most athletes who played a sport had a game later in the day to practice said skills, and as such the school administration did not need to force on the juniors a mindless activity.
In my first year at Loomis, I alongside my classmates embarked on the freshman hike. Instructed to arrive at 7:15 in the dining hall an hour and fifteen minutes before a normal class day, we all anticipated an early start. Instead, we were met with instructions to wait for over an hour. As a day student from Simsbury, I was especially frustrated by this experience. Let me walk you through my morning: I left Simsbury at 6:45, arrived to the dining hall at 7:15, sat there for an hour, drove at 8:30 back to Simsbury for the hike, then back to Loomis, and then back again for forty five minutes to home, in Simsbury. In addition to this logistical nightmare, the extremely thick fog that day made it impossible to see any of the views from the hike – Of course that was well beyond the school’s control, but again some brief weather research could have indicated that a cancellation was in our favor.
Although the Egg Drop and the freshmen hike are two examples of terribly pointless Pelican Days that seem to exist to fill time, I have greatly enjoyed others. During the 2019 MLK Pelican Day, for example, I was captivated by the wrongfully convicted Ricky Kidd, a former prisoner who had recently been released from incarceration system. His unique story blew me away, and he articulated a powerful message about intentionality and unfairness in the criminal justice system. In fact, I did not at all view this as a waste of a Saturday morning – I learned from attending the speech, and greatened my perspective at the same time. This event, however, could have been easily condensed in a sub-ninety minute presentation which Loomis could have fit into a normal class day. A lengthy, one-hour gallery walk without advisor groups followed Kidd’s speech, but it seemed impossible to keep the students focused on the subject at hand. This element of the day seemed a ploy to fill time, and make the Pelican Day last until its’ scheduled end at 11:30.
I understand that some Pelican Days must take place on Saturdays, such as snow day makeup and ACT practice tests. In other cases, however, it can seem as though it would be even more manageable for our school to condense Pelican Days into classes or cancel them all together. Students at Loomis have a plethora of things to get done between their rigorous schedules, including athletics or afternoon activities which meet nearly every other day. Saturdays should be preserved, continuously acting as our day off. In reality, though, students here understand that not even those days of the week are free due to our already-existing, actually stimulating commitments.