An Inauguration of Firsts

This coming Tuesday, for the first time in recent memory, Phillips Academy will give students the day off to watch and celebrate (or ignore and sleep through) the inauguration of the next President of the United States. Almost. Instead, we’ll be given an inconvenient hour and a half in the middle of Tuesday’s schedule, then resume classes, stretching the day and causing some sports practices, such as swimming, to run even later into the evening. And it gets dark early these days. The school’s heart is in the right place. Mark Twain once said, “I’ve never let my school interfere with my education,” and, with this decision, Phillips Academy is trying to include some real-world events with our classroom education. But we shouldn’t do this thing half-heartedly. One day off every four years isn’t so much to ask – so that maybe, as a school and as a nation, we may all hear the next words that will hopefully inspire and unite the nation. The conservati- ahem, cynics on campus may argue that our irrepressibly liberal institution is giving us time off for this inauguration for a reason – playing politics with our schedules. And should this new tradition not continue in four years, we hope that future Phillipians will argue in this space that every inauguration is historic and worth witnessing, regardless of the political ideology of the President in question. Our parents all remember where they were when John F. Kennedy was assassinated – and undoubtedly schools stopped classes to take stock of that tragic event. But do we only set everything aside in moments of crisis? Stop everything; the world is crumbling? It is just as worthwhile, when an event that will shape the nation positively takes place, to stop and take note. The Phillipian hopes that Andover will continue to give students time off to watch future inaugural addresses and other events that affect America on a grand scale. And, who knows, maybe it will be Obama at that podium again in four years. This editorial represents the views of the Phillipian Editorial Board CXXXI.