Honor Roll Roundup cancelled

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Staff Reporter

RESERVE – The annual Honor Roll Roundup, a St. John tradition for the last 25 years, has been cancelled for the 2007-2008 school year.

The Roundup, funded by the local businesses, has been celebrated at the Dupont facility on the last Saturday of June since its inception in 1983.

In the past, honor roll students from the public, private and parochial school systems were invited, as a reward for their good academic standing, to ride rides and play games in a carnival type atmosphere.

Now, the program has fallen to the wayside due to an official evaluation brought forth by the executive committee that included Superintendent Michael Coburn.

“I didn’t decide to cancel it,” said Coburn. “They made a decision that they want to try to do something different.”

According to Coburn, the committee, consisting of local business and community leaders, decided to cancel the 2008 Roundup because of declining participation.

“It evolved to the point where we were spending a lot of money for the few kids who showed up,” said DuPont Representative Harry Glidden, a member of the committee. “We used to have 2000 kids. Last year we were lucky to have 500.”

Glidden said the Roundup cost between $15,000 to $20,000 per year.

Coburn said that the event had problems attracting middle and high school students due to attractions geared mainly towards younger children, and that the committee is exploring alternatives to the current setup.

“There will be something in terms of kids who make the honor roll,” said Glidden. “It will probably be something more focused on the individual schools.”

In the meantime, Coburn said ride providers have been notified that their services are not needed this year and the committee is mulling over using the $9000 left in the program budget to buy T-shirts for 2007-2008 honor roll students.

The idea of dissolving the program was brought up in discussion in the St. John School Board meeting last month with opposition by many school board members.

Board Member Russ Wise argued that the program was unique to the area and needed more publicity. He also added the declining participation may have to do with Hurricane Katrina.

“I don’t think it had anything to do with Katrina,” said Coburn. “Participation was falling before then.”

School board members asked Coburn to take the issue back to the committee to pursue other options before any decision was made.

Apparently, the decision had already been made.

“Unfortunately these temporary suspensions of activities like this have a bad habit of becoming permanent,” said Wise.