Although they could not use their newfound powers to declare a snow day, three Olentangy Local School District students enjoyed briefly playing the role of superintendent last week.
The district in November asked students to donate $1 or more to disaster-relief efforts for a chance to shadow Superintendent Mark Raiff for a day.
Heath Helmling, a third-grader at Wyandot Run Elementary School, Estella Schnetzler, a sixth-grader at Liberty Middle School, and Breanna Hart, a junior at Liberty High School, won superintendent-for-a-day status via random drawings Nov. 21.
The trio arrived at the district's administrative offices to claim their prize on the bitterly cold morning of Dec. 13. Although the students got to the Orange Township building too late to influence a call on a snow day, Breanna said they were "still working on it for other days."
Raiff said the students received an education on how district officials determine when to use a calamity day.
The superintendents for the day also toured Berlin High School, which is set to open for the 2018-19 school year, and shared a meal with Powell Mayor Brian Lorenz.
All three students agreed the chance to get a early look at Berlin High School was the most exciting item on the schedule.
Breanna said the fourth high school is "a huge topic of conversation" among students at the district's three existing high schools. Estella said she wanted to see how the district planned to incorporate technology into the design for the building.
The day wasn't all fun and games, as the trio was asked to voice the concerns of their classmates to Raiff.
Breanna said theater students told her to make sure the superintendent knew a leaky roof was wreaking havoc on Liberty High School's stage.
"I've definitely heard about that for the past few weeks," she said.
While shadowing Raiff, Breanna learned that district officials were aware of the problem and planned to spend more than $81,000 to fix the roof in 2018.
Estella and Heath told Raiff the district needs to make sure drinking fountains are operational.
Although the younger students' observation might seem minute, Raiff said they had accurately identified a major issue for Olentangy officials. He said the district, which expanded rapidly in the past few decades, must keep up buildings that are no longer brand-new.
"Our buildings are aging, so we have a challenge moving forward," he said. "We were fortunate we passed a permanent-improvement levy two years ago to get us funds necessary to repair our buildings."
Raiff said he hoped the experience of being superintendent for a day gave the three students a new appreciation for how many people work hard to support district students.
"What matters to me is that they really value their teachers and their principals and all of the people that work in the schools," he said.