Unprecedented number of student absences for Cubs World Series parade

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Sophomore Kathleen Gault takes this picture of the empty desks during seventh period. Gault was one of the five people in her Honors World Literature Composition class. "I like how teachers get really personal with you when you're like the one person in your class," Gault said.

By Ayse Eldes, executive opinion editor
When Prospect English teacher Lori Amedeo was finishing one of the last requirements to obtain her teaching degree at University of Illinois Urbana-Cham

Sophomore Kathleen Gault takes this picture of the empty desks during seventh period. Gault was one of the five people in her Honors World Literature Composition class. "I like how teachers get really personal with you when you're like the one person in your class," Gault said.
Sophomore Kathleen Gault takes this picture of the empty desks during seventh period. Gault was one of the five people in her Honors World Literature Composition class. “I like how teachers get really personal with you when you’re like the one person in your class,” Gault said.

paign, she found herself to be a student observing one of the high schools in the city’s rural outskirts. In the middle of cornfields and highways, this school needed no more than three English teachers on their staff for the small amount of students they had.
Amedeo was shocked by the things she observed during her time at the school. Not only was it peculiar that the students in the English just read and did nothing else every single day, but she walked in one day to see the classrooms empty with only a few seats full. Amedeo was so confused as to why more than half the school was empty until she found out it was the first day of deer-hunting season.
Amedeo remembered this scenario from years ago when she walked into her first period HWLC class to see half the seats empty on Nov. 5, the day of the Cubs Parade. Across the hall in room 206, 10 students showed up to class that morning. Associate Principal of Student Services Greg Minter guesses that only about 60 percent of the student body was there that day. That’s almost 800 students missing.
Minter doesn’t remember anything like this happening before. The closest experience he had to this may have been a snowstorm in the past. While he respects anyone’s decision to go to the parade, Minter does believe that some students may have misrepresented this day to their parents by making it seem like nothing was going to happen at school.
“That’s a little disappointing that people would misrepresent things, but you know, kids and families get to make decisions,” Minter said.
Not everyone did get to make the decision to go, though. Sophomore Alexi Kotis is one of the biggest Cubs fans in school. Kotis goes to no less than five Cubs games a year and was also at Wrigley Field the night they won the World Series. Unfortunately, he was not allowed to attend the parade on Friday.
“I really wanted to go. It was really important to me. … Maybe we’ll win next year, and I can go next year. … It’s a really big deal to me. I’ve always been a Cubs fan all my life,” Kotis said.
With an attendance made up of mostly underclassmen, students like sophomore Kathleen Gault did enjoy the empty halls and classes.
“It was worth it because I got to enjoy my face not getting shoved up against the … railing when I was going up the main staircase,” Gault said.
Gault had two teachers out and couldn’t go to the parade because her parents were working.
“Were I to take the CTA alone, I would not only get lost, but probably get stabbed,” Gault said.
When Gault was in her fifth period chemistry class, a student with a substitute walked in. The girl was the only one who showed up to class, so they were trying to find a place for her to go. With attendance at a potential all time low, there were some positives. Sophomore Cora Vincent appreciated the smaller class size.
“I like having small classes because then you get to talk to people you don’t usually talk to. Also, you feel like you can ask questions without being judged, and you just have really nice all-class conversations,” Vincent said.
Teachers took different paths during the day. Some chose to stick to their planned agenda while others embraced the parade. Math teacher Lisa Halleen decided to keep doing what she was going to do anyways. She’s not approaching it any differently, so the students that are absent will just have to make up the work. Even though she would love to be there too, it wasn’t a high priority.
“Boy am I supporting every moment of the day because, honestly, I’m a huge baseball fan, and I’m a huge Cubs fan. But in the whole grand scheme of things, I only get a certain number of days off,” Halleen said.
Health Education teacher Krystina Leazer had a different approach. In some of her earlier classes in the day, Leazer’s attendance was very low, so they watched highlights from the Cubs game. She continued with watching the parade later in the day. In Leazer’s dance classes, they danced to “Go Cubs Go,” the cubs anthem.
“Everyone’s been loving it, I mean today they’ve been a little bit miserable because they’re sad that they’re here, and they wish they were downtown, or because they haven’t been doing a lot of school related things,” Leazer said.
The busses that were once overcrowded and suffocating were now half empty. Hallways, the cafeteria, the commons and classrooms were scarcely occupied. With many of the student body out, those who attended school the day of the Cubs parade had an unmatched experience.
“I’m a little jealous of those that went,” Leazer said. “But I mean I understand it, it’s a historical thing. I just feel pretty lucky that we got to witness this happen.”