Let it Snow! No, Let it Stop!


CHC measured 8 inches of snow in the first snowfall of 2018. Although beautiful, the snow and ice lingered, causing school to be closed for 4 consecutive days. Less than a week later, snow fell again, closing school for a second round. Photo Credit: Dr. Garran

A powerful winter storm dubbed Grayson recently brought windy, whiteout conditions and power losses. The storm was referred to by some meteorologists as a “Bomb Cyclone” because of its sudden drop in atmospheric pressure, which prompted flight cancellations across the East Coast, and dozens of school districts cancelling or delaying classes.

At Cape Henry Collegiate, the winter weather created a major setback for teachers as well as students. After missing nearly five and a half days of school, students and teachers alike struggled with adjusting to a full week of school since it had not happened since early December. However, many students were thrilled with the snow fall, such as Kendall Hathaway ‘18, who said, “I loved the snow because we didn’t have school, and I could play with my friends on sleds and have snowball fights!”

In Virginia Beach, it is sad reality that a winter storm can shut down the entire city. Luckily, through social media we can still stay connected. Cape Henry sent out the school closing news through calls and texts, but Twitter was the fan favorite. Dr. Garran shared the news with a few witty comments and hilarious pictures. Those students who follow him on Twitter were able to reply with pictures as well, rejoicing in the fact that school was canceled. Charlotte Brown (‘19) stated that “It’s pretty cool that our community can come together over Twitter for things as simple as missing school.” Even on other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, students, their families, and faculty still stayed in touch. Another student Michael Russo (20) shared, “Even though everyone in the area was snowed in and it was difficult to leave the house, people still stayed connected with each other by sharing pictures of the snow in their yard and their pets playing in the snow.  It was nice to text with my friends and see what was going on in their lives even though we weren’t in school together.” Cape Henry is built upon many things, one being community. Seeing how connected we are even when we might be snowed in really shows how close knit Cape Henry really is.

Many people found the days off from school to be a relief even after Christmas break. The snow provided temporary fun but eventually turned into a nuisance. Patrick Jones (18’) commented on the snow saying, “I don’t want any more snow days. The time off was nice but my car got screwed so I was basically housebound. I was going insane. That wasn’t too fun.” Patrick’s opinion on the snow was shared by others who found the layers of white powder to be bothersome. However, not everybody grew tired of the snow; many people were sad to see it go. Grace Fluharty was happy to have time off from school and commented saying, “The snow days were great. I had a fabulous time playing in the snow and spending time out of school.”  Overall there was a split between people who liked the snow all the way through, and those who grew tired of it. Even those who grew tired of the snow enjoyed it initially, and if they didn’t enjoy the snow itself, they enjoyed the time off.

With the recent snow, many students and staff members thoroughly enjoyed not coming to school. Edrick Peake, CHC Technical, enjoyed his time away because it gave him the chance to help others. Edrick says that every year when we have a few snow days and he’s off of work, he always drives over to his parent’s home to help them shovel their driveway. He also doesn’t mind driving in the snow because as many of us know, he is rocking a 4-wheeled motorcycle that “can plow through anything” according to him. Another student who thought the snow days were a welcome break is Julia Skeen (‘18).  Skeen, a well rounded student who is currently taking multiple AP’s and is involved in many of our clubs, said the recent snow days were a great way to catch up in her classes and stay on top. Although the break helped her get her work done, she admitted that recently, they have been a burden now that we’re back in school. She stated, “I’m in four AP classes with set deadlines, the teachers have to go through chapters faster, so in the future it will create a burden on everyone.”

With the recent snowfall, students had the pleasure of experiencing a few extra days out of school after the winter break. So how did the students of Cape Henry spend their days off? According to the numerous Snapchats that inundated my phone, a fair amount of people went outside and actually enjoyed the snow. Senior Jacob Blakley found that the freezing temperatures and “snow made it a great day to go kayaking” in athletic shorts, a tee shirt, and tennis shoes. Meanwhile, Senior Hazel Tankard went a more traditional route and enjoyed her days off by “watching some TV, sledding, and doing some homework in advance.”

Lack of transportation during and after the snowfall was a huge factor, creating problematic situations left and right. For some students, the snow affected their ability to even back out of their home driveway, leaving many students terribly bored and miserable while stuck at home. Other students were in the clear to drive after the first few hours of snowfall. The ability for students to drive or not was based strictly on whether their parents were prohibiting them from traveling in the inclement weather conditions or if they were okay with their child taking on the brutal conditions. Many students seemed to feel comfortable with the roads, having previously lived somewhere where snow was an everyday thing.  The repeated cancellation of school days seemed to be a good enough reason for students to want to explore the roads and to test their limits in and out of their cars. George Selamaj, junior, was in a fender bender one afternoon after driving and parking his car safely in a lot nearby. After this, he returned to his car and began backing up when he shared, “I simply started sliding once I was reversing my car. I expected to slide a little bit, but I actually ended up sliding and my car and my friends hit each other.” Following this unfortunate event, Junior, Katie DiBona shared how “one of the days [she] had to actually walk home because of the conditions. I started to drive on the way to a friend’s house, surprised that I even got out of my driveway, and I drove all of the way to the Sentara hospital when my car got stuck. I walked around 2 miles in the freezing cold and finally returned home.”

Overall, while students seemed to enjoy the extra days off that the snow afforded them, the snow overall proved to be a nuisance, shutting down the city for a few days and causing numerous car accidents. In the realm of academia, the numerous snow days have stymied the education of the students, throwing teachers and students alike off schedule. In the end, when asked if they wanted more snow, the answer was a resounding “NO.”