Weathering the Storm: Ridge High School Hunkers Down for Snowstorm Jonas

Hyojin Lee ‘16, Editor-in-Chief

For procrastinating Ridge students, Sunday is typically reserved for homework, test preparation, or finishing touches on projects (or the start of projects, in extreme scenarios).  Sunday, January 24, was no exception – until a districtwide phone call in the afternoon announced the unimaginable. All Bernards Township schools were closed on Monday, January 25, and Tuesday, January 26, in addition to other New Jersey schools experiencing delays and early dismissals.

Sikata Sengupta ’18 succinctly summarized the reactions of many Ridge students when she remarked, “I screamed with joy when I found out.”

In the days leading up to Snowstorm Jonas, many students agreed that the timing of the blizzard, which was accurately predicted to begin on Friday night and end on Saturday night, did not bode well for any hopes of a snow day. Sure enough, as soon as the snow ended on the night of January 23, snow plows begin shifting much of the blockage from the roads. Even the astonishing total of thirty inches of snow did not prevent the roads from being cleared.

Thus, the announcement of a snow day on Monday came as a surprise to Ridge students; on social media such as Facebook, students responded to excited reports of snow day phone calls with startled enthusiasm, rushing to be the first to update their statuses.  Though two-foot layers of snow still obstructed several driveways across Basking Ridge, most of the main roads remained narrowly clear of ice and snow. More surprised reactions followed the announcement of a second snow day on Tuesday. As Justin Kransdorf ’16 put it, “I don’t understand it. But I’m not going to argue with no school.”

Many students quickly adopted his cheerful outlook on the blizzard. Over the course of Monday and Tuesday, social media quickly filled with images of Ridge students enjoying their days off and engaging in various wintery activities. Kransdorf himself mentioned several, including “[digging] a tunnel in the snow pile left by the snow plow, snow forts, snow ball fights and sledding, making big jumps.”

Indeed, the classic blizzard antics of snowball fights and lopsided snowmen appeared often in the pictures uploaded by gleeful high school students. In a surprising counter to the seeming domination of technology, many of the youths in Basking Ridge embraced the opportunity to experience life outside of their smartphones.

A reasonable portion of students also reported spending their snow days with the warmth of food, Netflix, and pajamas, all without ever setting foot outside their homes. For many, the snow day not only provided some outdoor exercise, but also an opportunity to catch up on the shows that they had missed in the tumult of the school year, or to simply relax.

The administration eventually sent out a letter to parents of Ridge students, explaining that immense amounts of snow in the parking lots of Ridge High School had prevented school from resuming. Sengupta strongly approved of their decision, commenting, “I appreciate the fact that the school announced the snow day early… They also ensured the safety of everyone because the road conditions are pretty icy and many places are still blocked.” Other students, however, mentioned confusion over the fact that the parking lots were cleared so slowly relative to the main roads. Some seniors expressed anger over the fact that mountains of snow smothered some parking spots in the lot by the Performing Arts Center.

Moreover, upon returning to school on Wednesday, January 27, students were alternately stressed and overjoyed to find that Marking Period 2 had been extended to the coming Friday. Seniors, especially those eagerly awaiting the onset of the second semester and senioritis, bemoaned the fact that they had to work seriously for two more days.

Nevertheless, regardless of the school’s reasons for or reactions to the unexpected break, many students’ ultimate responses remained the same: Never question a snow day.