Acting Superintendent Entertains and Informs

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On local school district leader took the messages parents dread and turned it into entertainment.

When the Athens City School District closed last week, recordings went out to parents alerting them of the closures – in the form of poetry.

On one recording, Acting Superintendent Tom Gibbs recited a haiku, and on another message to parents and students days later, he moved to a Petrarchan sonnet.

“I don’t really have a reason,” Gibbs said.

His haiku stated:

“No school tomorrow;
Clean your room;
Pick up your toys;
Your mom will thank you.”

Gibbs said he received a positive response from parents and people outside of the school district, including Ohio University Dean of Students, Jenny Hall-Jones. Some residents have even asked for a Frozen parody video.

“Obviously I am not the person who is going to create a video,” Gibbs said.

His wife received comments asking from parents asking for more help from Gibbs in getting their children to help around the house while they were cooped up.

“They said ‘I wish Mr. Gibbs would tell them to clean their room,'” Gibbs said.

So the superintendent went to work on a longer piece of poetry, called a Petrarchan sonnet:

Listen to the sonnet here. 

“A snow day turned to doom.
No tests.
But no rest.
My Superintendent said “clean your room”.
I cannot push a broom
on a day when I should fest.
Dr. Gibbs should not jest.
Now my chores, they do loom.
My Mom, she thought it funny.
Now me, I wish it sunny.
Melt away this snow and sorrow.
I’ll go to school tomorrow!
Please put the blizzard bags away.
I’m playing in the snow today!”

Gibbs said he isn’t a poet by nature, even admitting that he had to research what a Petrarchan sonnet before he penned the work. The poem involves presentation of a problem in the first few stanzas of the poem and the resolution in the last stanzas.

“I would not call this a work of art,” Gibbs said.

Gibbs was not only helping the parents with chores, but also completing one of his “blizzard bag” activities.

The blizzard bags are packets given to students before or after snow days. The packets include school work that might have been missed during the time that students missed from school. Gibbs decided to give himself assignments as well.

“Hopefully other folks also got to do the same,” Gibbs said.