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Why does school start in August?

Published: Friday, Sept. 20, 2013 4:36 p.m. CDT

Dear Editor,

What is there to gain for the students starting in the second week of August? The answer is simple: school ends earlier.

Is that really a valid reason to start earlier?

After early dismissals due to the extreme heat we just experienced at the end of last month, I think now is a good time as a community to discuss why Oregon CUSD 220 starts during the second week of August.

When I first wrote this opinion it was Sept. 3 and look at what we woke up to: a nice chill in the air and a daily high in the mid-seventies.

This makes an enjoyable first day of school. We would have survived the heat of the week and a half prior.

Moreover, the idea of the beginning of school always revolves around the thoughts of fall, not the heat of summer.

Sure we might experience some random hot days like what we just had, but it is nothing like August.

And yes, the heat we just experienced is not of the norm, but, last year students were dismissed early due to extreme heat in August also.

After talking to some of my neighbors who have graduated from Oregon, I found out that school at one point in time began just before Labor Day weekend and ended just before Memorial Day.

By doing so, the staff and students would miss out on the last bit of the dog days of summer, and the conditions would not be so intolerable that learning would be curbed.

That is the true issue at hand: curbing education.

Now, the greater concern is always health, but when you have to dismiss students 4 out of 5 days of a week, and another day the week prior, due to heat you lose precious in-class instruction time.

Students missed a whole day of class due to the extreme heat. It’s not that I believe the students should have been forced to stay in school, it’s the fact they were in school in the first place.

Additionally, when you think about the earlier start date of classes, athletics are forced to practice in the heat of the day after school!

I will admit that I am not completely understanding of the practice schedules, but I do know that after an early dismissal due to heat, I still see the football team practicing.

Luckily tragedy has not struck, but we all hear the stories of students succumbing to heat exhaustion.

If we did not start classes as early as we do in this district, our athletic teams would be able to practice in the morning and would beat the heat. This makes sense!

Do we truly have to start during the second week of August?

What would be lost if we started after Labor Day? I want to know.

Sincerely,

Jacob Conklin

Beloit, Wis.

Thank you for attending our celebration

Dear Editor,

I would like to thank local VFW and American Legion Posts, fire and police departments, current military members and families for being a part of the Oregon Elementary School celebration of our National Anthem on Sept. 13.

On Sept. 14, 1814, Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the Star-Spangled Banner after watching American forces defend our country at the Battle of Fort McHenry.

That song became our National Anthem in 1931.

Our students learn about patriotism through important musical pieces such as the Star-Spangled Banner and the opportunity to perform these songs in public allows them to celebrate their pride in America.

Your presence made our celebration even more special for the students. It reinforced the importance of patriotism and pride in our nation’s heritage.

Beginning with just a few students standing around a flagpole to a community event with hundreds of people in attendance, I hope this celebration will continue and flourish for years to come.

Thank you!

Marilyn Lillibridge

Music Specialist

Oregon Elementary School

River Sweep was a success

Dear Editor,

On behalf of the Oregon Area Rock River Sweep Planning Committee, we would like to thank all the sponsors and volunteers who made the Fifth Annual Oregon Area Rock River Sweep a success.

The sponsors who donated supplies, services, and time include the Oregon Park District, Ogle County Solid Waste Management Department, American Rivers, RockRiverSweep.org, and the Ogle County Sheriff’s Department.  

Thanks, also, to this newspaper for helping to promote the event.

Thirty-five volunteers and staff showed up on Sept. 7 to help clean a seven mile stretch of the river in an effort to preserve the health and ecosystem of the Rock River and to enhance its beauty.

This included several people who “swept” the river by boat or canoe.

With the help of Oregon Park District and Ogle County Sheriff’s Department employees and their trucks, volunteers were able to round up approximately 950 pounds of waste.

Some noteworthy items collected were a bicycle frame, mattress springs, a garbage disposal, two barrels, and three tires.

Volunteers went through each and every bag of trash to ensure that any recyclable materials were separated for recycling, and the remainder was disposed of properly.  

More than half of the waste collected was recycled.  

The most common type of waste picked up was plastic bottles.

We thank all those involved for their efforts and hope to see you next year!  

If you would like to be involved in the planning of next year’s event, please contact one of us. Steve Rypkema, Mark Nehrkorn, Kayla Raper, & Angela Mahoney Oregon Area Rock River Sweep Committee Members

Thank you for patriotic songs

Dear Editor,

I regret that I was unable to attend this year’s National Anthem Day festivities due to a prior Rockford engagement; however, I want to thank all 400-plus students, third to sixth grade, who do such a great job singing patriotic songs.

Special recognition of the educators, teachers, instructors who diligently have instilled in the students a great history of the USA via songs, from the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, Spanish American War, World War I, on to the honoring all veterans and families from World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, and the Middle East including Iraq and Afghanistan.

Again, sorry I could not make it but congratulations and many thanks to students and teachers of the Oregon Elementary School for a very necessary lesson during these troubled times.

Anna A. Hatzipanagiotis

Mt. Morris

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