One Inch of Snow: Reactions of a Frosted Woodstock

Casey H.

Staff Writer

On January 28th, weather officials across the state and country reported that snow would begin falling at around nine in the morning. Cherokee County students, however, still got on their buses and headed to school, which had not been shortened for the frigid day ahead, as initial predictions showed the bad weather staying south of Cherokee County

First period at Woodstock High School proceeded as usual. In second period, it was announced that school would let out at 1:30. Snow began falling in third period, and in fourth period any upperclassmen with cars were allowed to go home, and underclassmen were being picked up by parents or siblings. Needless to say, by fifth period, the school was fairly empty.

Those who stayed had the opportunity to wait for buses and watch the snow fall on the football field. “I’m extremely excited about the snow,” said tenth grade literature teacher Ms. Ashley Mize at the time. “It’s very pretty. I just hope everyone stays safe.” Numerous other teachers and students agreed and enjoyed watching the rare sight and sneaking into the breezeways when there were no teachers around. Freshman Jose Gonzalez, who had never seen snow before, said, “It’s cold, and it’s beautiful. I feel like I’ve been missing out.” Bliss was as pure as the snow that was quickly blanketing the ground, and it could be just as easily tainted.

When “fifth period” ended at 1:30, students were herded into classrooms, the library, the gym, and the cafeteria. Teachers were told that the roads were freezing quickly, and the buses were still taking students from elementary schools home. It didn’t take long for staff and students to figure out what would happen. “We’re going to be here until six o’clock!” Mrs. Rebecca Zavala, a ninth grade literature teacher, said at the time. I was with Mrs. Zavala and her class at the time and watched as people’s attitudes towards the weather changed. There was a collective “Aww…” whenever an announcement from the attendance office called a name that was not anyone in the classroom’s, and light-hearted conversations quickly faded into irritated silence. And this would not even be the worst of it.

At one point, our class got called into the gymnasium, where I left my new freshmen acquaintances and sat with my friends. One of them, freshman Finley Bennett, says of the day, “It sucked. In a way, I guess it was fun, since it was different from a normal school day, but it still wasn’t pleasant.” When the silence about the bus situation got to us, we became restless and wandered around the gym. People congregated around power outlets, charging their phones and texting their parents. Emily Whittaker, a sophomore who had reached one of the coveted outlets before any mobs had started, said that people would eye charging phones as they passed, and that drama was created when friends would not let other friends use their chargers. Everyone was quickly becoming as restless as we were, and there was only negative news of the buses that were to rescue us.

However, it soon became apparent that buses were not going to make it to Woodstock. The time that they would arrive shifted from 1:30 to 3:00, then 4:30, then 5:30, until finally it was announced that it was impossible for them to make it down the hill, which had frozen over quickly due to an accident involving a fire hydrant and a Mercedes-Benz. The idea dawned on the student body slowly: they would have to stay the night if they could not get a ride home.

If anyone was not upset up to that point, they were then.

The night- as it had indeed become night- became a desperate student search for anyone who could take them home. If they really did not want to stay the night, students were given the opportunity to walk home, which many took. Bennett and sophomore Austin Barone were among them, and Barone says of the experience, “It was an interesting day, but it was also very stressful. By the end of it, I was exhausted.” Faculty and parents alike drove four-wheel-drive cars and actual four-wheelers, making rounds up and down the hill, taking students home or to wherever their parents were. I was one of the lucky ones; a neighbor took her son, Whittaker, and I home at around five, and the normal 15-minute drive took an hour on the icy highway.

However, many were not as lucky as I. Around seventy students ended up having to stay the night along with over thirty staff members. The overnight adventure was a unique experience with students eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner and sleeping on exercise mats in the gymnasium. Time was spent watching movies in the auditorium and participating in activities in the gymnasium.

By noon the next day, the school was empty, and Cherokee County as well as the state of Georgia had quite a bit of explaining to do. School was out for the rest of the week, and the snow was almost completely gone by Saturday. Overall, the inch of snow has taught Georgia a lesson: expect the worst, because no matter how bad the weather actually is, that is how we will react. Sophomore Chloe Britt explains it brilliantly, “Georgia is afraid of snow.” That is not such a bad thing, though; after all, another snow week occurred due to Cherokee County’s caution, giving Woodstock students a two-week February break. That caution is for the best, for it is much more desirable to stay home than spend another night at school, trapped by one inch of snow.

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