By Stephanie Liu, Staff Writer
// It’s 8:30 on a Friday morning and classrooms feel weirdly empty. Around two-thirds of students are missing, and the rest of the class checks their social media to find that their classmates are gallivanting around the streets of San Francisco or playing on the beach. Senioritis is at its peak.
Senior ditch day, a yearly occurrence, led to a high number of absences on Friday, May 24.
Out of 314 seniors, there were 256 absences, according to the Acalanes attendance office. Around 100 of those absences were unexcused absences.
Seniors who cut class had a variety of activities planned.
“Some people are just staying home in bed or whatever, but a lot of people are saying that they’re going to the beach,” senior Isabelle del Sesto said.
Among the students who went to the beach on ditch day was senior Josh Starr.
“I went to a beach next to the Golden Gate Bridge with a great group of friends. We played ultimate frisbee, talked with each other, and had some snacks. Then we got a late lunch/early dinner at Cactus in Oakland before driving home,” Starr said.
Some seniors ditch because the consequences of ditching are minimal since it’s the end of the school year.
“I only have AP classes, most of which are over, so skipping one day to go out with friends presented itself as a nice break which wouldn’t have any negative consequences,” Starr said.
Del Sesto, who went on the advanced drama trip to Ashland on Friday, said she wouldn’t have participated in senior ditch day even if she had the chance.
“I’d just feel awkward doing senior ditch day when [my teachers] know me personally, like on a non-professional level. It’s just kind of awkward,” Del Sesto said. “I probably wouldn’t participate just to see what class is like without people and just chill with the teacher.”
Del Sesto also speculated about reasons other seniors would cut class.
“At this point in the year, it’s honestly moving at a snail’s pace for a lot of seniors,” Del Sesto said. “I think that senior ditch day allows them to taste the freedom that they’re about to have before finals, before all the big projects that they have to finish.”
While students enjoyed their Friday away from school, teachers spent their day upset in their empty classrooms.
“I find it frustrating that there’s a feeling of need to miss a day of school to celebrate,” environmental science teacher Jada Paniagua said. In all her mixed junior and senior classes, only one senior attended class on ditch day.
Part of Paniagua’s frustration originates from seniors missing valuable information from the end of her curriculum.
“We’re all here at the end of the school year trying to fit in the last important lessons we can think,” Paniagua said. “It just feels crummy enough to teach half a class because half of the class decided that what I had to say was not important enough for them to come.”
Another element that teachers dislike is the makeup work from students who decided to ditch, which adds an extra workload for teachers.
“They feel perfectly entitled to create additional workload for their teachers the week before finals when we’re wrap up our grades… because they feel entitled to miss a day of school without any repercussions,” Paniagua said.
Social studies teacher Joe Schottland agrees that participating seniors have a sense of entitlement. He cited the school-provided activities as another reason seniors shouldn’t ditch.
“I think that this school goes out of its way to do stuff for seniors in those last few weeks of school for them to have those bonding experiences like that,” Schottland said. Although he participated in his senior ditch day in high school, he said that, “our school did nothing for seniors… I graduated in Madison Square Garden. You went there, you graduated, and then you left. That was it.”
Since the school puts on events like senior symposium, time of reflection, and grad night, teachers like Schottland don’t see a need for seniors to ditch.
Apart from disrespecting the Acalanes staff, seniors who ditched also disregard the few class periods that they have with their classmates.
“There are kids that you kinda like and you don’t mind being with them, but they’re not your close friends. And those are the ones that you only have a few more hours left with. And I think that you should be aware and cherish those few hours,” Schottland said.
Most seniors have their parents sign them out of school for the day, excusing them from the absence. This serves as another frustration for teachers, as they wish that students would take responsibility for their actions.
“It’s really frustrating that students choose to ditch school but then aren’t willing to accept any consequences of said ditching, like a cut or an absence,” Paniagua said. “If you’re gonna cut, take it like an adult. Face the repercussions.”