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Solon High School showcases its diversity in the new school calendar

Decorations outside of the bookstore celebrating Lunar New Year.
Decorations outside of the bookstore celebrating Lunar New Year.

When the draft for the 2024-2025 school year was released, many students and families rejoiced over the addition of four more school holidays. The new holidays being Hashanah, Diwali, Lunar New Year and Eid al-Fitr, celebrated by students of many ethnicities such as Asians and Jews. For many years, these holidays were not included in the school calendar as a no school holiday, even though some students petitioned for them.

Fred Bolden, the superintendent of Solon Schools said that the days off were as a result of the increase of the population of the students celebrating them.

“About 25% of our student population celebrates one of those three holidays,” said Bolden, “And so, we had crossed that threshold where enough of our students are celebrating these holidays, it made sense to put these into the calendar so that people could celebrate without fear of having to miss.”

According to senior Ruchira Patil, these holidays help ease the students celebrating holidays like Diwali traditionally.

“The pujas [traditional Indian rituals] and just the preparation is a lot of work,” Patil said. “So managing school on top of that is a lot, and I know a lot of students, especially my friends, who struggle during these times. So I do think that having these days off would be really helpful for them.”

There were some initial concerns among students about the calendar missing out on some other holidays or the school year lengthening. However, according to Bolden, there were no major holidays that had to be removed.

“There are contractual holidays that are built into our collective bargaining,” said Bolden.

According to Bolden, the Monday after Easter wasn’t given for religious reasons but as a contractual holiday. Hence, nothing was really changed and no major holiday was skipped.

“And so what we did was to maintain the necessary number of student days,” said Bolden. “We took the Easter Monday holiday, and we shifted it to next spring break as opposed to after Easter.”

As for the school year’s length, for the students, the school year is actually 178 days compared to 180 days in the 2023-2024 calendar.

According to senior Grace Chen, the new holidays are really important to show and maintain the diversity of the community.

“Solon is really diverse,” Chen said. “We have people celebrating a whole range of holidays, some people don’t celebrate Christmas, but they celebrate Lunar New Year or something like that, so it’s important to give everybody the opportunity to celebrate holidays that are important to their own culture.”

Bolden agrees with this sentiment.

“All of those holidays are important to their respective people that have those cultural traditions or beliefs, and it’s just a great opportunity for us to educate others about it,” said Bolden.

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