Student argues for his own school holiday — and wins | Englishheadline


Talk about a real A for effort.

A high school student on Long Island successfully convinced his district to close down the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend as a special “snow day” named in his honor.

Ethan Brown, a Jericho HS junior, quickly became one of the most popular kids in town after pleading his powerful case with the school board last March.

His chilling argument was that Jericho, ranked 109 in the nation last year, has 186 days in session — six over the state’s required 180.

“I was nervous, especially at first. I almost sat back down before speaking but I’m glad I didn’t,” Brown, 16, told The Post.

“Most of the audience agreed with me. Some parents talked to me to support the idea after the meeting.”

Brown’s inspiration to take action came after his school did not close for a wintery day in late February, despite weather and road conditions being less than ideal from a storm the evening before — and not a single snow day being used through the whole calendar year.

“Me and many students were very upset about this,” Brown, who routinely covers board meetings for his school paper, The Jerecho, said.

Ethan Brown (third from left), a Long Island high schooler successfully argued to get a snow day in May for his district.
Ethan Brown (third from left), a Long Island high schooler successfully argued to get a snow day in May for his district.

So, on a whim and a prayer — plus a chance to bolster his public speaking abilities — Brown sought to take action at the next board meeting.

“I vaguely talked to my parents about speaking, but I shared the speech with my friends before the meeting. Nobody expected anything, nobody thought I was actually going to speak,” he said.

“There’s no better feeling for students to wake up to snow and no school…nothing beats it,” Brown said to the board. “Next snow storm I ask Jericho school administration to consider giving us some time off.”

Brown selected quite the meeting to try and move mountains at. Superintendent Hank Grishman described this particular assembly as one with “a fairly large attendance.”

“You could tell that he was really nervous,” he told The Post of Brown’s speech. “But he did an absolutely incredible job.”

The standout 11th grader admitted to feeling more comfortable as he got the snowball rolling on the north shore.

“I got some laughs,” Brown said. “It’s unusual for a student talks about snow days at a big board meeting.”

Then things went cold for a month after Brown delivered his pointed thesis.

He had to wait until temperatures warmed during the April meeting to learn of the bold proposal’s fate.

Jericho schools will be closing on Friday thanks to compelling argument from a student.
Jericho schools will be closing on Friday thanks to a compelling argument from a student.

“In Jericho, we have a straight 186 day calendar…the longest calendar in the state of New York,” Grishman said. “There is no requirement to give, if you will, snow days back to staff or the kids. Frankly, we never have before.”

However, it was Brown’s compelling argument that led to what’s sure to be a major milestone in the district.

“I have some terrible news for you,” Grishman jokingly told Brown at the April board meeting. “We are planning to have a snow day on the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend and we’re going to call it the Ethan Brown snow day.”

Grishman ultimately approved the day off as a well earned reward for both students and faculty who have had to jump through hoops since the pandemic.

Ethan Brown was cheered on by Superintendent Hank Grishman after his speech.
Ethan Brown was cheered on by Superintendent Hank Grishman after his speech.

“Ethan’s face lit up. It was a smile from ear to ear. Everyone in the audience, parents and staff members and other students in the audience all broke out into applause,” Grishman said.

“The weather forecast could not be better. I don’t anticipate we’ll be seeing any snow,” the superintendent added, also saying that it’s “within the realm of possibility” that Ethan Brown Snow Day could become an annual tradition.

The impact of that initial announcement promptly echoed throughout the halls of the high school. As Grishman put it, “I think from from that day forward, Ethan has definitely been the most popular kid in high school.”

“Some people have called me a hero. I’m getting a lot of thank yous and even rounds of applause during school at times,” Brown said.

Many are grateful for the words of Ethan Brown.
Many are grateful for what Ethan Brown did.

It’s not just students who are cheering him on.

“Even the teachers pop their heads in to his classroom and say thank you so much. It’s something everyone has been talking about and I’m certainly looking forward to the day off as well,” English teacher Suzanne Valenza told The Post. “He’s a star. When he spoke up that was wonderful, that’s the kind of student he is — someone who takes initiative.”

Next school year, Brown is slated to take over as Editor-In-Chief of the paper. He’s also thinking about studying journalism, law, or debate as a college student.

The snow-man of the hour — a member of the Jericho varsity tennis team — said he’ll spending Ethan Brown Snow day cheering on a teammate’s match.

“I was so thrilled this all worked out and that Mr. Grishman actually liked what I said,” Brown added. “My family is proud of me that I made this happen … I think.”

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