A Sachem East junior has recently launched a campaign to consider offering personal days for high school students to take at their own discretion, free from attendance policies.
"I know I may sound like an annoyed teenage kid disgruntled by the educational system and its forced attendance; but in reality, I just want to fix what’s happening around me."
So begins Alex Volpicello's letter he drafted to Congressman Tim Bishop, Congressman Peter King and President Obama. The self-proclaimed Democrat from Holbrook goes on to describe the mental and emotional state of high school students over the course of a long school year.
"Every day of my high school career I see my classmates, peers, and friends struggling with things as simple as stress, being overworked for a good college and a good life, and not getting enough sleep escalating to psychiatric problems of depression & anxiety, complete lack of interaction, and an overall dreadful high school experience."
Volpicello's proposition is simple: award students with up to five personal days based upon their academic acheivement. For example, a 90-100 quarterly average earns 5 days; 80-89 earns 4 days, and so forth. The personal days would be used at the student's discretion and would not count against the student's attendance record.
"I thoroughly believe that with an implementation of personal days as a respite from these struggles every now and then without abuse, there will be not only a general ease in the hearts and minds of students everywhere, but also a greater incentive to achieve if they know there is a reward."
In addition to the letter Volpicello wrote to national leaders, he launched a petition on the White House website to make the implementation of personal days a federal provision. The petition currently has 10 signatures, well shy of the 100,000 needed to elicit a response from the Obama administration. Anyone wishing to sign the petition can do so by clicking on this hyperlink.
For Volpicello, the Holbrook resident states that personal days would help contribute to the overall experience of high school.
"School needs to be less of a place kids dread to go in order to be a place where they are able to learn more and perform better."