District 117 Says Goodbye to Columbus Day

Community High School Disctrict 117 made the decision to no longer have Columbus Day as a day off in the 2021-2022 academic year.

Bella Bussone

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Aaliyah Lizak

Ayden Burton sits in Ms. Ruley’s psychology class.

After 50 years of schools observing Columbus Day as a national holiday, District 117 has decided against the nationwide celebration. The state of Illinois still observes Columbus Day, but there have been 27 other states that have made the move to drop it. This topic has been frequently surrounded by controversy as Columbus’ past is being brought to light. Originally thought of as the European hero who founded America, it is now known that Christopher Columbus committed numerous crimes against humanity. 

In opposition to Columbus’ new negative connotation, the idea of Native Peoples’ Day has come about. This idea arose since natives were already on the North American continent when Columbus’ boat touched shore. Senior Jacob Moisa agrees with changing Columbus Day into a holiday that celebrates Native Americans. 

“Columbus didn’t even discover America, he discovered the Dominican,” Moisa said. If we change the name and change the meaning around it, then absolutely we should [celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day].”

“Honestly, though, I’m more concerned about the potential negative effects that our students and staff will face as a result of not having this day off, regardless of its name.” Ms. D’Andrea worries about how this will impact the students. (Aaliyah Lizak)

A majority of the states that do not celebrate Columbus day now observe different forms of Indigenous People’s Day. It is unknown whether the Antioch administration is considering this. Jamie D’Andrea, English teacher and Antioch Education Association President, claims that the decision to skip Columbus Day was due to the school calendar.

“To keep the semesters as close to equal as possible, decisions get made about which days to take off of school, and which days to attend,” D’Andrea said.Though I don’t know for certain, I imagine the decision to not observe Columbus Day stemmed from trying to maintain that balance.

Though the administration may have dismissed the holiday due to a problematic school year schedule, that does not mean it is concrete for years to come.

“For me, Columbus Day has never been about celebrating so much as it has been a welcome day off of school to plan, to grade and to recharge,” D’Andrea said. “I’m more concerned about the potential negative effects that our students and staff will face as a result of not having this day off.

Without Columbus Day, District 117 will have nine straight five-day weeks, which is uncommon. As the administration’s decision to observe Columbus Day has yet to be tested out, there is one thing to say: see you at school on October 11, Sequoits!