Graduating seniors at Little Wolf High School will have to attend school past Memorial Day in 2014.
At the Manawa School Board meeting, Monday, Sept. 16, Karl Morrin, Little Wolf High School principal, informed the board that he had received numerous phone calls regarding the date of the 2014 graduation ceremony. Graduation is scheduled for Friday, May 30.
“The issue we have is, typically graduation is on Memorial Day weekend, Friday of Memorial Day weekend, and that’s usually the Friday before school lets out,” Morrin told the board.
Morrin went on to say that because Memorial Day is on May 26 in 2014 that would have put graduation on May 23, while the end of the school year is the first week of June. This would have resulted in a two week gap between graduation and the last day of school.
Morrin said reasons being cited by parents for wanting it changed to Memorial Day weekend included relatives already in town for the holiday, as well as it being “tradition.”
Morrin asked the board if it wanted to move graduation back for this school year.
Board member Stephanie Flynn said it was her recollection that Memorial Day weekend was specifically taken out of the commencement ceremony policy because the last day of school is different each year. She said she thought that change was made specifically for instances like this, so seniors would not get out two weeks prior to the last day of school.
The board took Memorial Day out of the ceremony policy in June 2012.
“I think it’s a good idea not to do that because the way the calendar works and that holiday falls at different times, and can vary from the 23rd to the 31st,” said board member Paul Sturm.
Sturm added that since the commencement ceremony is already on the school calendar, it wouldn’t be fair to change the date now because some may have already made plans to have relatives come in on that date.
“From an educational standpoint it’s shortening the school year by one week,” said board member Helene Pohl. “Either what we do here is meaningful or it’s not. I’d like to believe it’s meaningful.”
Sturm added that this is something that should be discussed when the school calendar is approved.
The board accepted the resignation of Vicki Santacroce, IT/media specialist director. The board had approved a two year administrative contact for Santacroce at the July board meeting.
In her resignation letter, dated Sept. 10, Santacroce stated her resignation was effective Sept. 19. She also stated that she accepted a career opportunity with the Green Bay Public School District. Because of stipulations in her contract, she was required to pay the district $4,000 for liquidated damages.
During the district administrator’s report, Ed Dombrowski updated the board as to the status of the IT/media specialist position. Dombrowski said the position was already posted. This time the position is not combined with the library specialist position, and it is not an administrative position.
The board also accepted the resignation of Marie Gorman from her position as library aide at Manawa Elementary School.
In athletics, the board accepted the resignation of Morrin from the position of varsity boys’ basketball coach. In his resignation letter, dated Aug. 22, he stated he loves coaching and basketball is a part of his life, but he did not have the time to devote to the position. He cited commitments to his family and to his position as the Little Wolf High School principal as the main reasons for the resignation.
Ian Field, a student at Little Wolf High School, presented information to the school board about a $2,000 forest grant he applied for and received. Field said the purpose of applying for the grant was to hopefully start a school forest. He said the grant money could be used to purchase property or buy trees.
To receive the grant, Field needed the school board to sign the grant and agree to help provide progress updates.
“I commend him a lot for putting in the initiative to write a grant,” Morrin told the board. “It’s hard enough to teachers and administrators to write grants.”
Field said one idea he has is to plant different species of trees that can be used for identification purposes and classroom instruction. Another option would also include planting trees to be used for pulp. Once these trees matured, he said the district could harvest them for money.
“I think as a board we need to encourage that initiative for people who think outside the box and beyond the regular class curriculum,” said board member Helene Pohl.