Autumn Snowstorm Tests Patience

Autumn Snowstorm Tests Patience

Churchill senior Condylia Heliotis was scheduled to take the SAT II at Montgomery College Saturday morning, but a visit to the Montgomery College website confirmed what she’d suspected might happen – the test was canceled.

“I was kind of upset, because I kind of wanted to get that over with,” Heliotis said. She will take the test when it is readministered Dec. 20. “It’s not a big deal,” she said. “I basically got my studying done for those tests.”

Some area parents were more miffed than Heliotis about the Saturday morning decision to postpone SAT and SAT II testing. County schools were closed Friday and school-related activities were canceled through the weekend due to the area snowfall.

CHURCHILL PTSA president Sharon Bourke described many parents as “very upset” that the county’s Interagency Coordinating Board (ICB) did not announce cancellations until Saturday morning. Bourke pointed out that SAT testing was canceled in New England well in advance of the storm. “Why couldn’t that [decision] have been made the night before?” Bourke said.

Friday was the third day this academic year that classes were closed countywide; Hurricane Isabel and the power outages it caused forced cancellation of two school days in September. Wootton High School canceled two additional days in August after losing power in a thunderstorm. However, schools usually make individual decisions about making up days lost individually to emergency or weather conditions, according to county schools spokesperson Kate Harrison.

The final day of school for students for this academic year is June 15. However, the last date is extended beginning with the sixth day that schools are closed due to unplanned disruptions.

BASKETBALL OPENING Night was scheduled for Friday at most public school basketball teams in the county, including the varsity boys and girls teams at Churchill and Whitman. Churchill’s boys team postponed its opening game at home against Kennedy from Friday to Monday.

“I’m disappointed. I love to play basketball, and I was looking forward to the game on Friday,” said Churchill senior Chase Coard, a varsity basketball player.

“I was pretty disappointed because all week I’d been resting my injury,” said Churchill junior Sekou Yansane, also a varsity basketball player. “All the anticipation for my first game. … I was ready.”

With school cancelled, both Coard and Yansane stayed at home awhile, then went out and played basketball at nearby facilities on Friday.

Not everybody was disappointed with the snow cancellations. Churchill senior Kelli Cissel, on the girls varsity basketball team, was grateful for the free time.

“I was really happy,” Cissel said. “It changed a lot of things. I got a lot of homework done and did college applications. … I finished some of the applications.”

Churchill, Whitman and Wootton all had varsity wrestling matches and indoor track meets scheduled for Saturday that were postponed.

WHITMAN JUNIOR Ariel Werner didn’t have to worry about the D.C.-area snowfall — she was concerned with the two feet of snow that fell as she attended a wedding in Massachusetts last weekend. Werner and her family had to change plans and fly out of Providence, R.I. because Boston’s Logan Airport was closed.

“It was a lot of snow,” said Werner. “But they were much better able to deal with it up there.”

By Monday, county schools reopened on time, and basketball teams at Churchill, Whitman and Wootton all opened their seasons.