Class of 2010 vs. Class of 1978 in snow days

Article Published: Feb. 25, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011

Class of 2010, here's a warning:
"I jokingly tell people today that the Watauga High School Class of '78 never reached its full potential because we missed so many days of school that year," said Jeff Eason, 1978 WHS alum and editor of The Blowing Rocket newspaper.

The Class of 2010 seems to be up for the challenge, but can they win the title?

After all, in 1977-78, students missed a total of 39 snow days, pushing Christmas break into February, and 2010 has work to do if it wants to catch up.

"Even though we couldn't make it to school," he said, "we somehow managed to make it to Sugar Mountain."

Lift tickets were discounted when school was canceled, Eason said, inspiring students to trade their textbooks for skis.

1976-77's 33 inclement weather days meant students missed a month of school, two years in a row.

Mooresville sales representative Doug Glenn was a senior at ASU during that year. He couldn't get back to school after Christmas break due to snowdrifts.

"They closed down school and put off everybody coming back to school for several more days," he said. "I had a little old Toyota at the time. I drove that thing into the stadium lot as far as I could get it... it just turned so bitterly cold it wasn't going anywhere... I don't think I moved it for at least two weeks."

Watauga County Schools (WCS) snow day records only go back to the 1975-76 school year, but the 1976-77 and 1977-78 school years live on in infamy.

"In the period where we have records, they're pretty much in a league of their own," Watauga County Schools spokesman Marshall Ashcraft said.

As of Thursday, Watauga County students had missed 21 days due to snow. In order to get into 20s before this year, one would have to go back to the 1995-96 school year and its 23 inclement weather days. In fact, not including 2009-10, only four school years since 1975 have seen more than 20 inclement weather days: 1995-96 (23 days), 1986-87 (22 days), 1977-78 (39 snow days) and 1976-77 (33 snow days).

As of Thursday, 2009-10 ranked fifth for inclement weather days.

"It could be a lot worse, but we hope it won't get that way," Ashcraft said, "We're really not that far off the average. It's just that they've been more concentrated than usual."

Last year, kids missed a total of 18 days due to inclement weather. The two years prior to that? Six days each.

Eighteen more days and the class of 2010 will give 1978 alumni a run for the title, a title school officials like Ashcraft could do without.

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