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Two Extra Days For Washington & Roosevelt High Schools

August 30, 2004, 4:51 PM by DeeAnn Tiede

Two Extra Days For Washington & Roosevelt High Schools

Summer vacation came to an abrupt end for Sioux Falls public school students today. Nearly 20,000 children, grades kindergarten through 12th, headed back to class for another year of studying and tests.

That's 133 more students than last year. And when teens at two Sioux Falls high schools started their day, most had no idea they would be spending two more days in school this year than last year.

If you calculated all the steps all 2,036 Washington High School students take between classes, you might be left to wonder just how we ended up with a problem like childhood obesity. Students make trip after trip, bouncing back and forth from classrooms at one end of the building and then the other.

Senior Heather Barthelman could probably walk the path in her sleep, but if she did, she'd have to do it quickly. Heather Barthelman says, "Last year, I had to go from the end of the A-wing to the end of the E-wing. It took about 4 1/2 minutes waking fast and sometimes it was pretty close."

Since Washington added ten extra classrooms to its building, the walk got a even longer. So the school added five extra minutes to each day, giving kids another minute each time they move between classes.

Bill Hoff, the Washington High School principal says, "It's a long way. If you have to go from one end of the building to the other. There is probably no way you could do that at full speed in five minutes."

We wanted to see just how far it is from one end of the hall to the other, so we borrowed a measuring wheel from the city and reset it at zero.  At a brisk pace, we measure the hall keeping in mind there are 5,280 feet in a mile.

It's 938 feet, almost a fifth of a mile. So what do the extra steps and the extra time mean for students like Barthelman? This senior gave herself a homework assignment to find out.

Barthelman says, "I was just like - Wow. It's summer. It might as well do something. So five extra minutes, I bet that would probably equal a day and it ended up two days. I was like wow."

That's right. Five extra minutes a day equals two full school days. Still, administrators think it's a step in the right direction.

Hoff said, "They'll have to move right along. They will not be able to socialize."

Roosevelt High School also added classroom to their building and five extra minutes to their school day.

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