Columbus Day: Cruel or Convenient?


Kate Linehan

Kate Linehan, Reporter

On October 13, most Pres girls probably slept in, caught up on homework or their latest Netflix binge; unaware that the reason they were not sitting in second period was because some guy sailed across the Atlantic, claimed what is now our country and ultimately took advantage of its many components.

Many people may not view this as a big deal until the realization that Pres does not have Veteran’s Day off, a day to honor our brave troops. However, according to school administrators, Pres is not trying to send any kind of social message through this action.

Although Columbus is not the ideal role model of social justice, having the day off for Columbus Day is much more convenient for Presentation’s overall fall calendar, and the benefits of having Columbus Day off outweigh the costs of having Veteran’s Day off, despite the meaning behind the holidays.

Vice Principal of Student Activities Katherine Cobarrubia leads the executive committee, a group of all the teachers and staff who manage major programs on campus, and says, “We have a limited number of days we can have off because we are required to have 82 school days a semester, 41 A days and 41 B days, so when making the calendar I have to count the number of days we have, going backwards from Christmas break.”

We cannot have both Veteran’s day and Columbus Day off because doing so would cause the committee to make our Christmas or summer break shorter in order to fulfill the requirement. But why in October and not November?

“If we didn’t have a holiday in October, we wouldn’t be able to have a day off from September 7 until Feast, in the end of November. We all want to have some break and two months without one does not sound fun,” says Cobarrubia.

Cobarrubia also explains that since having Columbus day off is not a new addition to the calendar this year, events that were scheduled that weekend in the past have become traditions that are hard to be altered. For instance, the Speech and Debate Voices tournament happens that weekend, which raises money for underprivileged Speech and Debate students.

“The day off is not about Columbus,” says Cobarrubia. “Obviously, Columbus does not have the best social record and we would love to take the day off the celebrate the veterans, but unfortunately it does not fit into the calendar.”

Some might argue that Pres should have Veteran’s day off because it is a national holiday. However, so is Columbus day and just because Veteran’s day is a national holiday doesn’t mean it is required to have the day off.

According to an article in Money magazine, “There’s no real standard for whether schools should be open or closed on Columbus Day…The fact that businesses, school districts, and state governments are divided about how to categorize Columbus Day is a pretty good indication that we as a nation are not sure how we’re supposed to feel about the day.”

Although Columbus himself may be a controversial figure, that three-day weekend in October is there to give us a break, so whether we spend it preparing for the PSAT or just catching up on sleep, it is for us, not him. So even if you take some time to think about the reason you aren’t in second period, thank the Pres executive committee, not Columbus.