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Published: Wednesday, 3/30/2005

Gorham Fayette: Board lets classes out for county fair week


FAYETTE - Gorham Fayette students who participate in the Fulton County Fair in September won't have to miss classes to take care of their animals, projects, or other fair activities.

The 2005-06 school year calendar, adopted by the school board, gives all students fair week off - Sept. 5-9. This means a net change of three days off, because in previous years, schools were closed for two days during fair week for Labor Day and Junior Fair Day.

"We have not tried this before," said Superintendent Dave Hankins, who described it as an experiment. "We'll see how it works. If it does not work, we won't do it again."

Gorham Fayette's calendar has been adjusted to make up for fair week, he said. School will start for students on Aug. 22 and will end May 31. The district will not have a spring break, but there will be time off around Easter in April.

"The thinking of the board was that a lot of kids are involved in the fair," said Mr. Hankins. "A lot of students were missing school anyway."

Across the county, there were 1,157 4-H members last year. Of those, 82 members listed Gorham Fayette as their home school, said Karen MacDonald, office production assistant for 4-H with the Ohio State University Extension, Fulton County. In addition to 4-H members, fair participants include students who are members of other organizations, such as FFA.

Because so many students are involved in the fair, "It has been a tradition for some time in Fulton County to take off the day after Labor Day as Junior Fair Day," said Pike-Delta-York Superintendent Russ Griggs, a former superintendent in the Evergreen district.

Mr. Griggs said that Evergreen and PDY have many students participating in the fair activities, and that the districts have worked around the absences for students with a verified need to miss parts of days. He said that PDY has not considered going to additional days.

Some students in the county might miss an additional day or half day of classes to participate in the large animal livestock sale later in the fair week, Mrs. MacDonald said.

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