The creepy last night of summer: Blame the winter of 1994 for the early start

Depending on your school district, this is it..

For us here in Northeastern PA, we are ready. School clothes purchased. Ayden is “eagerly” “anticipating”.. It all begins..

Buses are being primed and shined for another year. Educators are lamenting the speed at which these summer months vanish. Parents are erratically pondering where school shopping should occur.. Kids, oh the kids.. they are suffering the most.

Watching those last minutes of the calendar tick away.. While on TikTok.

x x x

This is it, folks!

The final week of summer in most areas. School seemingly is beginning earlier than normal every year right?

There are old timers who often talk about their school days dazes.. when they went back AFTER Labor Day weekend!!

Now we have a bias on the Northeastern part of the United States. It may very well be different where you are.

We researched this and we found a number of previous news articles from decades past when school really did start after Labor Day.. It wasn’t until the late 90s that things changed–and it appears that the winter of 1994 can be blamed for all of it!

Back in that time frame, there were a LOT of school closings. The blizzard of 93 was one thing, but the winter of 1994 was cold. Snowy..Really really cold. Really really snowy with storm after storm after storm.

I recall it fondly, as Mr. Shappell in 7th grade Immaculate Heart became angered more and more each time another snow storm was predicted.. (winters after became largely warm for the final half of the 90s after the blizzard of 1996) ..

But that winter of 94 really messed with school planning.

An August 30th 1995 editorial in the Pottsville Republican seemed to suggest that the school calendars were completely torn to shreds by the previous winter. As a matter of fact, the fishwrapper reported that the summer of 1995 was hot (I remember this kindly sorta not really fondly.. grass was so dry it crunched like chips) .. The editorial penned, or at that time, typed:

“The pre-Labor Day start of classes is as result of the Winter of 1994, when a seemingly endless series of snow and ice storms wrecked school calendars and forces sessions to continue into late June.”

And so it was written.

Harrisburg also had one of its snowiest winters of all time..

Once schools went pre-Labor Day one time, it seemed like it continued, earlier and earlier each year.

IT WASN’T ALWAYS LIKE THIS

At one time in history, children did NOT have the summers off. Read that again. Yes. No summer vacation… no traveling. No Hershey Park. NO beach. No Mount Rushmore.

The public education system started in the 1800s..

Based on the location you lived in, calendars varied. In cities, schools were open all year–240 days!

In rural America, farming and the land forced schools to open for 5 months, or two sessions, in the winter and the summer.. In the fall, school closed so kids could help harvest.. Spring time they helped plant.

It was not until the early 20th century that urban and rural districts combined their efforts and created the 180-day school year. It started AFTER labor day and ended in June.

It continued that way for decades. By the 1990s, pre-Labor Day schooling began.. It has increased the ability to build in longer vacations for Christmas and Easter, but depending on snow days those days off start getting chipped away at during colder times.

I STILL BLAME THE WINTER OF 1994 FOR ALL OF IT

It seriously is when it all changed.

So let me take you back. . . I was in grade school.. and yes, like all dorky kids like me, watching winter patterns and watching Weather World on PBS at the time. Oh those fond memories of my strange childhood.

I was also loving Rooftop Weather on WYOU with Barry Finn while all the other adults were glued to Tom Clark.

Barry Finn was extraordinary that year, he was rare. He loved winter. He loved the snow. Other forecasters pooh-poohed it while Barry just shivered on the rooftop up at the Scranton studios giving Northeast PA their daily dose of scary blizzard forecast in 1994.

As a matter of fact, Barry Finn warned people in September of 1994–back when kids still started school after the Ashland ABA parade.

The TIMES LEADER wrote this on September 3, 1994:

Coat the East Coast in nasty ice storms.
    “Oh, you don’t want to know,” said psychic Peg Verity Barber of
Wilkes-Barre. “It’s going to be a devastating winter, not snow as much as ice.
It’s because of global changes, and the tilting of the earth’s axis.”
   
Wallop the region with snow.
   
“Meteorologically speaking, there’s no way to know,” said Barry Finn, chief
meteorologist at WYOU-TV in Scranton. “But I’m going out very soon to buy a
snow blower.”

Vince Said it Would Be Like This Sweeney also got an honorable mention with this quote:

Weatherman Vince Sweeney of WBRE-TV dismisses the hoopla. “I’ll tell you
about this winter: it’s coming,” he said. “If you don’t like the weather,
move.”

So that is it..

A winter in memory to blame for what we have now? Sure some will surmise it has to do tiwh tourism, jobs.. whatever.

It has to do with weather. Weather changes us culturally and economically. And in 1994, it changed when children’s melodrama of nightmares would begin.

May God bless the students about to journey into a new school year.

And may God forever bless the soul of our dearly departed Barry Finn, who passed away in 2020..

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