Dismissal Hysteria

A longlasting tradition in the musical cast comes to a halt


photo by Valerie Davis

The cast of Good News deserved a break from stress, not a break from tradition.

Valerie Davis, Co-Editor-in-Chief

As I walked into school on Monday morning, heading for the attendance office with an early dismissal note in my hand, I was very excited for the day ahead of me. The cast was going to perform Good News for the eighth graders, answer any questions the eighth graders may have, and then go to Ichiban right after as a bonding experience. Well, that isn’t quite what happened. In fact, two out of those three events did not even occur.

Going to Ichiban after the 8th grade performance has been a tradition since before I was in the musical, starting in ninth grade — it began when my sister was in musical eight years ago. The show typically ends at noon or 12:30 pm, and then a majority of the cast leaves — with parental permission — after the performance. Yes, the cast misses the last two or three classes, but we miss all of our other morning classes anyway.

However, this year, when I tried to turn in my note that my mother had signed, I was put on hold. There were three other cast members behind me, all with the same note that said something along the lines of, “Please excuse Valerie at 12:30 pm.”

When Ms. Fenton, the attendance secretary, came back, she said every cast member would be marked unexcused from their last two periods because the administration, “knows students aren’t actually going to a doctor’s appointment or any other place you may say you’re going.”  This was just the beginning of my rage — and let me be clear, it had nothing directly to do with Ms. Fenton, who was simply doing her job.

Tech weeks are our playoffs. Show week is our WPIAL championship. Everyone involved in the musical has put in so much time and effort to make this show amazing.”

Everyone in the cast immediately started freaking out. How could they do this? We would miss the last two periods of one school day to have fun with each other. Was that really asking too much?  Especially when our parents were in full endorsement?

Apparently, it was. As the morning went on and the show continued, the attendance office called every parent of a student who turned in a note and told them the consequences of their “skipping class.” After getting off the stage following a huge ensemble number, I checked my phone and noticed that my mother had texted me about the phone call. Luckily, my mom is the best and also thought it was ridiculous that they would not let students leave, even though they had a note signed by a parent.

Look, I can understand the administration wanting kids to go to class. I really do. But, to some extent, the cast deserved a break. We had been rehearsing six days a week prior to Monday, slaving away to make the production perfect.

I think I speak on behalf of the entire cast in saying that we are all good students. My attendance in comparison to a lot of people’s at NASH, in my opinion, is quite pristine — the only days I have missed so far this school year were due to a family wedding, a college visit, one sick day, and an immediate surgery (oh, and I came in at 8:00 am on December 13th because I had a doctor’s appointment. Thank you, Tyler SIS). Other than that, I have been to school every day, and I pride myself on that.

To any NASH student reading this, have you ever turned in a note and they called your parent to make sure it was okay? I’m sure you have. But, let me rephrase. Have you ever turned in a note and they said you could leave but it would be unexcused? I’m guessing the answer is no, unless you’re in the musical this year.

To all you athletes, let me put this into perspective because I am also involved in the athletics here at North Allegheny. Tech weeks are our playoffs. Show week is our WPIAL championship. Everyone involved in the musical has put in so much time and effort to make this show amazing.

If a sports team at NA made it to the championship and wanted to miss the last two periods of a school day with their parents’ permission, would they be allowed? I think I know the answer.