Empty chairs at empty tables

Hannah Lee

Sometimes, students need a break. For seniors, this comes in the form of senior ditch day, a day seniors skip their classes. On this day, some students go on small excursions with their friends, while others simply sleep in.  

This year, senior ditch day will take place on Monday, April 30. While the officers typically plan this tradition by placing senior ditch day after AP testing dates and before senior finals, the class officers faced some complications this year because AP exams lead right into senior finals. As a result, senior class president Dhruv Parikh and the other 2018 class officers have to take other factors into account.

“We were looking [towards the] last day of AP testing because not many people take tests then,” Parikh said. “However, this year, there’s AP Macroeconomics on that day, which I know a lot of people are going to be taking. We had to really [plan around] major events like voter registration.”

Photo | Sunjin Chang

Math teacher Joe Kim supports senior ditch day because the class officers plan the day strategically, preventing conflicts with important exams or events.

“They should have a day off, and I’m okay with that,” Kim said. “If senior ditch day was on a day that was really important, then I would have a problem, but they are responsible about picking a day that is not conflicting with something.”

Despite the challenges, the officers look forward to senior ditch day, as it is a tradition. Although the absence is unexcused, Parikh explained how students nevertheless enjoy the break.

“It’s the feeling of freedom because it’s the end of senior year. We’ve gone through MVHS, we’ve gone through everything,” Parikh said. “Most [college] admissions are probably out by then. We just want that one day to go out and do stuff with friends.”

In addition to being able to have fun with friends, senior Stacy Park believes that seniors are more inclined to ditch due to the high participation.

“Since everyone is doing it, more people are inclined to ditch,” Park said. “It’s kind of like mob mentality.”

Parikh, on the other hand, believes that many students choose to participate because of the less serious consequences. Some teachers who know about the date  make it easier for seniors to skip class.

“A majority of students here participate,” Parikh said. “There’s no culture of actually ditching class here, so this is the one day where people can go out [and] actually do something without as many repercussions.”

Other teachers, however, do not take the event into consideration and plan tests or other assignments on senior ditch day. As a result, many come to school to take an exam, then leave.

“I think it’s fine because [the seniors] are done. Especially for a school like MVHS where there’s so much pressure. It’s always work, work, work.”

“Teachers know that some seniors are falling behind on their grades, and they want to help them, so they’re like, ‘Why waste class time when they can just take a test [during senior ditch day]?’” Parikh said.

Math teacher Colin Anderson is among the teachers who give tests on senior ditch day. He does not believe that seniors have an excuse for skipping class on a test date just because it is senior ditch day.

“I will continue with my schedule and I will have the quiz on Monday,” Anderson said. “If it’s an unexcused absence, you cannot make that up and you will just get a zero on that assignment. Students are allowed to drop one quiz, so that might be the one that they drop.”

Despite the fact that some teachers do not support seniors ditching class, Kim says that senior ditch day is a part of the high school experience.

“I think it’s fine because [the seniors] are done,” Kim said. “Especially for a school like MVHS where there’s so much pressure. It’s always work, work, work. They should just enjoy the day off and have some fun.”

Similarly, senior Michelle Chen believes that teachers should not intentionally assign tests on senior ditch day. To her, senior ditch day is an end of the year reward to all of the seniors for working hard throughout their high school career.

“It’s really only about an hour per class that we would be missing, and I think seniors deserve to miss 50 minutes of class for having made it this far,” Chen said. “I hope our teachers won’t be assigning any tests this year. Fingers crossed.”