So, I am finding rich irony that nearly every school in Denver canceled school on a pristine, blue-sky, sunny day. While we adhered to our safety protocol of following the lead of Jefferson County Schools (our buses travel many of the same routes, and as a Pre-K to 12 school, sub-zero wind chills are taken into account), I think we are all forgetting we live in Colorado! Despite the challenges that closures make for adults (and believe me, parents, I know the snow day created challenges), the reality is that sometimes kids really need a bit of break in the depths of winter. With the end of the term coming, there is no doubt that many students were hoping for a day off to catch up and take a breather.
For the past 11 years on snowy afternoons and evenings, I have had the joy of fielding amazingly creative emails from our students, petitioning for a Snow Day. I keep a file of some of the best. But this year, our senior leaders took it to new, data-driven levels. See their email to me below that came in at 9:32 p.m.:
Hi Dr. Davis!
First of all, I apologize for emailing so late.
Mac and I put together a four-question survey in an attempt to gather information from the student body to present a legitimate case as to why we should have a snow day tomorrow due to adverse weather conditions. The survey was open for 45 minutes and the results are below.
With Denver Christian School (across the street from CA) having canceled school tomorrow and temperatures forecasted to be around -5°F with wind chill at 7 a.m., we want to represent the majority of the student body’s feelings that we should not have school tomorrow. We understand that when canceling a day of classes, you must consider many factors, and we simply wanted to add the children that will be driving to school tomorrow to that equation.
Aly and Mac
Upper School Community Council Presidents
This is just pure hilarity. I believe they also posted this poll on Instagram. Several students were petitioning one of my daughters, who is in COLLEGE, to lobby me to call a snow day. (Kids, let’s remember that we go by what other districts are doing, and this is often a team decision based on judgments about student safety.) I just want to shake the hands of the 3% of students who thought we should have school today. I want you kids on my Interim!
In all seriousness, there is something special about our school culture. We know this. Sometimes we see it in humorous and creative ways, and we always see this in terms of the character of our students. Just before receiving this email from Mac and Aly, I was copied on this letter to our Director of Athletics, Bill Hall:
My name is Doug Paulsen, and I am writing to you as a representative of the Pueblo Ice Arena, Pueblo, CO. I was the manager on duty when your Varsity Hockey Team visited our facility on February 2, 2019 to play the Pueblo County Hornets.
I wanted to take a moment to let you know, the young men on your hockey team, as well as the coaching staff, were the most polite and courteous of any team that has passed through the Pueblo Ice Arena in the nearly six years I have been associated with it. Even though the evening ended in a loss for your team, they still treated our staff and facility with respect and left with their dignity. This kind of behavior is, unfortunately, becoming less common, and I believe it should be recognized. It reflects greatly, not only on the team members and the coaches, but also on your leadership and your school.
I know I speak on behalf of all staff members to let you know how much it is appreciated, and that the Colorado Academy Varsity Hockey Team will always be welcome at the Pueblo Ice Arena.
Douglas W. Paulsen
Pueblo Ice Arena
I wrote back to thank Mr. Paulsen for his kind note. As we opened our brand new Athletic Center this week, it is a great reminder that everything we do—from arts to athletics—is about character and living up to high standards of behavior. I am so proud of our boys and coaching staff. I have received notes like this before about the positive behavior and comportment of other student groups, like our Girls and Boys Tennis Teams, Mock Trial, our choir, as well as numerous individual students who have distinguished themselves by being positive citizens.
Count among those the team of four CA Juniors, Jasmine Bilir, Anne Freeman, Anna Fucarino, and Kayleigh Milligan, who formed their own club and team and got themselves to Boulder to compete in their very first Ethics Bowl competition at the CU Boulder Center for Values and Social Policy. Not only did they get there and compete, but also the CA Ethics Bowl team won First Place in State, competing against eight other high school teams on February 2! The competition’s judges included many CU Boulder professors, and among the comments were statements about the students’ positive attitudes and respectful tone and conduct. Next, the CA team will compete against Utah’s winning state team via Skype. The winning team from that competition will qualify to compete at the National High School Ethics Bowl hosted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in early April. Congratulations, team!
I hope you all enjoyed the snow day. Students, I doubt you are going to get this lucky again, but there are still a few more months of snow left! See you all on Friday.