When Most of the Snow Skips Over Your Snow Day Town

Eleanor and Middle School Friends Make the Demand for a Snow Day
It was the sure thing. 3 -5 inches. High winds. Treacherous conditions. Dire travel warnings.
By mid-morning on Thursday, it already seemed to be a foregone conclusion that Memphis would be paralyzed in blizzard-like conditions by Friday morning. I was attending the Memphis Area Independent Schools (MAIS) Heads Retreat downtown, and much of the discussion before our meeting even began was not as much about whether we would announce a Friday Snow Day for our respective schools but when we would announce it. During a break in the meeting I texted our Director of Communications at St. George’s Independent School regarding an idea I had about how we might announce the Snow Day even though I was not yet 100% certain I would need to cancel for Friday. The result of that text is the brief video above, which we posted about 5:00 p.m. At this writing, it has close to 4,000 views—-shocking!

By early Thursday evening virtually everything for Friday was cancelled in Memphis–schools and businesses.

IMG_2153We awoke Friday morning to barely enough snow to support tentative sledding on area golf courses. Snow ball battles might be intense, but they would be short in duration. Eleanor and I cleaned off the car in five minutes and a couple of those were dominated by Eleanor writing her name in lovely script on the hood. The roads were mostly clear. The air was still.

Suddenly the call to announce a snow day seemed a little funny. Was it just hype that caused me and my independent school colleagues to call it all off? Heads of Schools, I have found, can have a bit of a chip on our shoulders about snow days. One secret fear is that we might go it alone and call off school when our other school friends hold off and later we would find to our horror there is only bright sunshine and mild temperatures welcoming the new day. The counter-balancing fear is that we would be responsible for getting the entire community to school in the morning and then be unable to get them home when the weather deteriorates.

As I reflect on the last couple of days, I am happily reconciled to our Snow Day even though there was not a Memphis version of a Snowpocalypse (I was in Atlanta in 2014). Under the threat of foul Winter weather, there was a sense of energy and fun around school on Thursday afternoon. The often not so subtle lobbying of key administrators by students and faculty alike became a post lunchtime refrain. …And once the announcement was made, I was reminded through the excitement of my daughter (who, along with her classmates in the video, had been sworn to secrecy after the filming) just how big a deal a well-timed snow day and thus break from routine can be. All that said, rarity is the key ingredient that makes a Snow Day great.

Last bit of Snow Saturday afternoon
Last bit of Snow Saturday afternoon

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