By Terry Dean
Freezing temps forced schools in River Forest and Oak Park to close for two days last week and those school districts are now looking to make up those lost days.
Schools closed Jan. 6 and 7 as temperatures fell well below zero. District 90 in River Forest will add two days to its school calendar to make up those lost days.
"This year, because of the extreme weather and school cancelations … the 2013-2014 school year will be extended by two days in order to make up the days and meet our legal obligations for student attendance," D90 Superintendent Ed Condon said in a letter to parents last week.
Eighth-grade graduation is still scheduled for June 4, according to Condon, but June 9 and 10, are now full instruction days.
Oak Park School District 97 will also add two days to the end of the school year in June, says D97 spokesman Chris Jasculca. June 6 is now the last day of school for D97, he says.
At Oak Park and River Forest High School, spokeswoman Karin Sullivan says the high school is not planning to add additional days to its calendar.
River Forest and Oak Park schools were coming off winter break last week as temps dropped. Monday was an institute day for OPRF faculty with students set to return from break on Jan. 7.
"We have sufficient instructional days built into our calendar, so we are not planning to add an additional day to the current school year calendar. Any time students miss school there is an impact on instruction, which is why we close school only in extreme circumstances," Sullivan said.
Four OPRF students win MLK contest
For the first time in school history, Oak Park and River Forest High School has four first-place winners in its annual Martin Luther King Jr. oratorical contest. OPRF twice before has had two first-place winners in a single year, as well as its first two-time winner last year.
According to school officials, the students' contest entries this year were so strong that four winners were chosen.
The winning students are: Matt Lee, Cassandra Bey, Tabrielle Matthews and Helen Susman. They'll recite their winning essays at the school's annual MLK Memorial Assembly on Friday, Jan. 17, at OPRF, 201 N. Scoville.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the school's oratorical contest. A record 59 students submitted contest entries for this year's theme: "What Would You March For?" Students submit their written essays, which they deliver at the annual assembly if chosen as winners.
The Oak Park Regional Housing Center is co-sponsoring the contest for a third straight year.
Friday's assembly takes place twice at 8:45 a.m. and 9:40 a.m. in the main auditorium.