Snow days may be fun for students, but they’re often a nightmare for school officials and parents to work around.
While Preston County Superintendent Steve Wotring has only canceled school a few times since taking the job in January, he’s already fed up with snow days. After seeing winter storms shut down school all week, driving through whiteout conditions on his way home Wednesday gave Wotring a little inspiration to change the way he’d announce yet another cancellation.
“I knew we would lose another day of school, and I knew I’d have to put another robocall out,” Wotring said, disdain in his voice. “I got tired of putting out the same old message.”
Wotring said teachers and parents are frustrated with so many cancellations. While robocalls are effective in getting messages out, they’re cold, unpersonable and, well, robotic.
“I thought to myself, I have to find another way to get the message out,” he said.
That’s when a song popped into Wotring’s head, and during his 25-minute commute, he got to work.
When he got home, Wotring set up a camera and started to sing.
“There’s no school,” Wotring began, holding out a note before sliding into the familiar tune of “Tomorrow” from the musical “Annie.”
“Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there’s no school,” Wotring continued. “Just thinking about tomorrow fills my head with migraines and sad sorrow. That’s not cool.”
Wotring went out to sing several more lines before ending with, “Tomorrow, tomorrow, I hope I’ll see you soon, cause we’ll still be here in June.”
School systems must make up missed school days if students do not get the required 180-days of instruction. Preston County, which was set to send students home for the summer on May 21, will likely go through the first week of June.
Once finishing the song, Wotring immediately shifted his tone and announced school would be closed again Friday.
The video has gone viral, and many who have commented have praised Wotring’s singing ability.
“I haven’t done any of that,” Wotring laughed when asked if he had any music or theater training. “I’ve sung in church though.”
Wotring didn’t expect the video to be as well received as it has been or that reporters from around the state and as far north as Pittsburgh would be calling him for interviews.
“It’s a little overwhelming,” he said. “Shocking really.”
This is Wotring’s first time being an Internet sensation, but he said he’s likely to be a one-hit-wonder.
“I don’t think I have the repertoire of songs to do it again,” he said.
Wotring said he hopes to see his students on Monday.