The promise of a snow day is the best part of winter storms for many Maine students. At one school in Jackman, the kids know that wishing for a cancellation is futile — instead, some of them just put on their snowmobile helmets and drive themselves to class.
The 148 students, ranging from kindergarten through grade 12, at Forest Hills Consolidated School haven’t had a snow day in three years. According to principal Thad Lacasse, the conditions are rarely bad enough to justify a cancellation because most students live very close to the school.
“We’re very fortunate because our distance of travel is quite small,” Lacasse told the Waterville Morning Sentinel. “Our buses don’t have far to travel. Most of our kids live within town. The furthest distance the bus goes one way is 8 miles so a 16-mile round trip isn’t bad.”
Forest Hills does sometimes delay its morning start time to allow for road cleanup, and occasionally cancels after-school activities so that parents don’t have to drive to the school in poor weather conditions at night, according to the Sentinel.
Some students forego the bus completely and ride their snowmobiles to school, the newspaper reports. Colin Dunning and Brian Snider, two freshmen at Forest Hills, turn their 4 mile commute into extra playtime.
“Most kids get out of school and have to go back home, then get to go out and ride, but we just go out right from school,” Dunning told the Morning Sentinel.
Any disappointment the students may feel from a lack of snow days doesn’t last long — without any storm days to make up at the end of the year, the kids at Forest Hills get a longer summer vacation.