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Votes

No Holiday for Students

Lots of No-Shows on This Makeup Day

Public school students in Alexandria celebrated Memorial Day in their classrooms … at least some of them did.

When School Superintendent Rebecca L. Perry recommended that Memorial Day be one of the snow makeup days, parents had mixed reactions. “I’m going to be here anyway, so they might as well go to school,” said Sarah Jones, who has two children in the system.

“I doubt if they do anything in school anyway, so I probably won’t make my kids go,” said Donald Wilson.

And, at least anecdotally, more than half of the system’s parents agreed with Wilson. Attendance varied from 30 to 50 percent across the district. But those who attended continued to learn and participated in special Memorial Day programs.

“Our after-school art students made an American flag and children were asked to make a list of family members who served in the armed forces and who have died,” said Anetta Lawson, the principal at Charles Barrett Elementary School. “We cut out the stripes with these names on them and pinned them to the flag. We raised the flag at an assembly on Memorial Day. The flag was not filled with names, but there were a good number.”

STUDENTS AT Mount Vernon Community School heard from two veterans and laid flowers at the Rocky Versace Memorial, which is just outside the school. Students at George Washington Middle School learned about the World War II memorial and about Francis C. Hammond, a George Washington graduate, who, like Versace, won the Congressional Medal of Honor. T. C. Williams students produced their own television show about Memorial Day, and it was aired during school hours. Those who were in school at 3 p.m. participated in the national moment of silence, remembering all who have died in war.

The last time Alexandria schools were open Memorial Day was in 2000.