EXETER — We usually talk about the end of the school year around Memorial Day, certainly not a few days before the Fourth of July.
But Monday was the last day for students in the Wyoming Area School District because of a teachers’ strike last fall.
Students in Wyoming Area saw neighboring districts in Luzerne County get out for the summer weeks ago, but because of a strike near the start of the school year, they had to go to class right up until the last day the state allows districts to be in session: June 30.
Kids in the elementary schools in the Wyoming Area School District finally got to file onto buses for the last time this year. There were a lot of happy students at Wyoming Area High School in Exeter, too.
For all ages in this district, the time they had off during a teachers strike last fall seems like a long time ago.
All of June was spent in school.
“All my friends got out in other districts and everything,” said Wyoming Area student Cole Keating.
“It was tough. I was like ‘I don’t want to get up, I just want to sleep in.’ I was like ‘ugh!'” added Tyler Demko.
Teachers walked picket lines for 23 days in September of 2013. The impact of that is being felt now.
“I have to do my job shadowing this summer and I’m not going to have enough time to do that. I didn’t like it. It’s tough, it’s tough for me,” said Wyoming Area student Steven Spess.
Some didn’t wait for the official start to vacation. Attendance in the high school was pretty low for the last day.
“There was like two people in every class. Pretty boring,” said Wyoming Area student Joanne Spak. “It’s pretty unfair.”
At least the parents and students shouldn’t have to worry about getting out this late in the next couple years. The district and teachers union reached an agreement earlier this month.
“It was hard, rough, with work, trying the kids scheduling. Had to miss work because of it,” said parent Joyce Brown.
Families celebrated a late kindergarten graduation at John F. Kennedy Elementary and not all were complaining about the late dismissal.
“So, I figure at least it gives the kids something to do in school and my daughter loves school,” said Tiffany Powell of Exeter.
But many kids and their parents are glad this school year is over and that next year should be normal.
“They can get out earlier and we can plan our vacations easier.”
Wyoming Area seniors got to graduate more than two weeks ago. They went to class on some Saturdays so they could still get out on time.
But for everyone else, this will be a short summer.