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PHCS Class of 2015 seeking overnight senior trip

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PARISHVILLE - Several students from the Parishville-Hopkinton Central School’s Class of 2015 attended Monday night’s board of education meeting seeking permission from the board of education for an overnight senior trip to Virginia Beach, Va., next year.

Superintendent Darin P. Saiff, who has been employed by the district for four years, said he did not know the history behind the district’s policy prohibiting overnight senior trips.

“I don’t know when the last overnight senior trip was,” Mr. Saiff said. “I’m not sure what the history is behind the policy, but the students did a good job presenting.”

He did say though the district has authorized several overnight trips during his tenure, just not senior trips.

“An overnight trip must have board approval,” he said.

A group of roughly six students attended the meeting, where Class President Nicole White read a statement on behalf of her classmates.

“We believe that a senior trip is an honor, a goal, an award that you work toward throughout high school,” she said.

“Through working hard in school, good behavior, and good attendance during all of your high school years you are able to earn one last trip with your friends, a goodbye of sorts to the family you’ve grown to love over the years.”

While recent graduates of the school have had a senior trip, those trips have not been overnight adventures, instead traveling to locations much closer to home.

“A mere 12 hours is not nearly enough time to reminisce all the memories you’ve made throughout the 13 years you’ve spent together with these people, and make new memories to celebrate your success,” she said.

“Your senior trip is the way you’ll remember your class for the rest of your life. In 20 years you may not remember who your best friend was in kindergarten, but you will remember who rode on a bus with you for eight hours and laughed with you the whole time on your senior trip.”

Ms. White noted that for some members of their class the opportunity to go to Virginia Beach for four days and three nights may be a once-in-a lifetime opportunity.

“We live in a community where not everyone has the funds to take their families on vacations outside the immediate area. Some of the students here may never see more than what’s inside a three-hour radius from Parishville,” she said. “As adults you can understand the importance of knowing the world outside of our community and seeing different cultures.”

Ms. White said she and her classmates understood the board’s concerns, but were willing to do anything possible to alleviate them.

“We will create a contract that would be signed by each student going on the trip and their guardians. We are willing to comply to a curfew, having our bags checked before, after and during the trip,” she said. “We would like to have members of the board of education and teachers as our only chaperones, if possible. We will comply to any and all rules decided by you and the administration if allowed to go on an overnight trip.

The fact that students in other district take overnight senior trips wasn’t lost on the students.

“Many of us have friends from other schools in our area and would love to have the same senior privilege of a class trip to celebrate our 13 years of success with our school family, those we have formed strong bonds with and will never forget, wherever life may take us,” Ms. White said.

While a senior trip for the Class of 2015 may seem a long ways away, Ms. White said it was not too early to start the planning process.

“Please realize in your decision that we are serious about this and are asking a year in advance so that we have time to fundraise and plan. If approved, we plan to fundraise most of the cost of the trip so everyone has the opportunity to go,” she said.

“We realize that if we are allowed to go the class behind us may have the opportunity as well. Please give us the opportunity to set an example for the classes behind us to follow and for Parishville to once again be a community that travels.”

Following the meeting, Mr. Saiff said Monday night’s meeting was the first he heard of the class’ desire to travel outside of the region for their class trip.

“This is the first I’ve heard of it, so I don’t have a recommendation yet,” he said, noting the final decision on whether the class will be able to travel to Virginia Beach lies with the board of education.

Principal Robert Stewart also said he was unfamiliar with the history of the rule, but noted the members of the Class of 2015 are “great kids.”

Mr. Saiff said he anticipates the school board will make a decision on the request before the start of the next school year.

“If we don’t handle it at the July reorganizational meeting, I anticipate in August we’ll at least discuss it,” he said.

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