By the Fourth Block Journalism Class*
Andover High School hallways and classrooms were one-third empty on Saturday,
as 656 out of 1791 students were absent. Another 121 students were tardy, and 225 were dismissed.
Students and teachers were required to attend school in order to make up a day missed due to a gas leak at the school earlier in the year. Other Andover schools were not in attendance.
Dr. Lord denied a rumor going about that a certain number of students needed to be in attendance in order for the day to be counted officially. “There is no such thing,” said Lord, of the rumor. “It’s just like any other day.”
More than 75 percent of the school’s 457 seniors were absent, tardy or dismissed, according to information received from the main office. Some of those absences were excused, and several were due to field trips. In contrast, 43 percent of 456 total freshmen were absent, tardy or dismissed.
Many of the people who attended had to do so for athletics. In order to participate in a day’s events, whether a practice or game, a student must be in school that day.
Many students who don’t play sports came in for varied reasons.
One student, Dhruv Patel, a junior, said, “I came because my teachers in calculus and Spanish offered extra credit to those who came.”
Eli Gukovsky, a freshman, said he came because he wanted to wear his Mario Bros. pajamas, part of a spirit day that encouraged community members to wear their sleep attire.
In contrast, many students said they felt the day was a waste of time.
The World Languages Department held a spelling bee in the Collins Center, in lieu of lessons. They did not teach in part because they did not feel enough students would be present to warrant official lessons.
Teachers interviewed said they anticipated 50 to 60 percent of students would be in attendance.
Some teachers said they were provided enough time to reschedule appointments, though Miss Fisher of the Science Department described having to cancel two appointments as “moderately inconvenient.”
Jack Berbarian, a sophomore, said, “I like it because I’m not doing anything but I don’t like it because I’m in school.”
*Or at least the five students who showed up.