PARRSBORO – Annual winter carnival activities are slated for Parrsboro Regional High School on March 7, although a protest movement has sprung in recent days over the fact that the event… well, ain’t what it used to be.
What was once a week of activities has been crowded into one day, and the long-standing format of “grade versus grade” competitions has been abandoned, according to parents and students who have been circulating petitions and spreading awareness through online forums such as Facebook.
Parrsboro Regional High School Principal Chester Clark declined comment on the matter, but assured that the event has not been canceled.
That is not enough for students like Audriana Smith, who were planning a sit-in protest at the school on Feb. 13.That event and an earlier sit-in planned for Feb. 11 were both canceled, however.
Students and parents alike have been raising their concerns.
“As of right now, we have students, parents and alumni writing in to the school,” said Audriana. “Everyone is able to participate in this peaceful protest by submitting PowerPoints, written word (like poems, songs, essays and letters,) videos, hand-drawn pictures, collages and other multi-media projects to show what Winter Carnival means to them or to express memories from past Winter Carnivals.”
A group of junior high students put together a petition for the school to keep Winter Carnival as it was, while parent and former student Laura Quinn created another petition to include past graduates and supporting parents and teachers.
Quinn started a Facebook group to protest changes to the traditional Winter Carnival at PRHS, which she said is needed to boost school spirit and morale at the school, which has suffered a number of tragedies among the student population in recent years.
Shortening Winter Carnival to one day, half of which would be taken up by a hockey game, was disappointing news for the parent, who said students had no input or knowledge that a change was coming.
The school was asking for student input as to what activities to include during the remaining half-day aside from the hockey game, however.
“I feel the school has let down the students, and made them feel like they are not important and their feelings just don’t matter,” she said. “I, like many, many people, carry wonderful memories of past Winter Carnivals. It was and could be a chance for students to come out of their shells; to show off talents no one knew they had.
“Most of all, it is about laughter, a boost in self-esteem, a sense of belonging, to be a team player and to fit in,” she added.
Quinn’s Facebook “petition” had garnered 462 names as of Feb. 12, with many sharing nostalgic memories and photos from past Winter Carnivals and pledging support for continued traditions.
“After all that has happened the last few years to these students, don’t they deserve to have two days where they can have wonderful memories to reflect on and cherish the rest of their lives?” she asked. “The school may just be surprised at how the teachers putting on a skit or lip synching can bring the school together, and help strengthen the student-teacher bond. It is time to bring the school back together, not to further tear it apart.”