Driving to work Wednesday, I noticed something while passing an area elementary school.

 There wasn’t a single car in the parking lot. Of course, that means school was out due to Thursday being Thanksgiving.

 It made my blood boil though. This is just one of the days during a school year when I realize while some of us Generation X kids had to deal with pretty much raising ourselves while our parents divorced and partied as though they were teenagers, we were robbed of something more important that future generations enjoyed – additional time off from school.

 Gosh, when we grew up, we didn’t even get a half-day off for the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Of course, the second half of the day was some sort of Thanksgiving celebration. While that was cool, any of us would’ve rather slept in until 10, found our friends around 11 and then played a neighborhood football game pretending our game was the annual Detroit Lions Thanksgiving Day contest (this would be our preteens). We would’ve rather spent the day in the woods near our home, spying on the teenagers’ fort, throwing dirt bombs at it and yelling insulting terms their way, until they ran out and chased us with no success. We missed out on another day of that type of fun.

 Christmas time is another period us Gen Xers were robbed. The only time we got off for the holiday season was the week in between Christmas and New Years Day. We got NINE DAYS, including the four weekend days. I think one year Christmas was on a Saturday, so we had an additional day off on Friday for Christmas Eve, but that was it. Today’s kids – gosh, it’s like being a college student. They are getting two full weeks off.

 And these two examples don’t even include the number of snow days kids get today, sometimes when there is no snow to be seen on the roads. In elementary school, we literally walked through a woods to get to school with no parental supervision. We certainly lost out in that exchange as well.

 So you figure these additional days off have to be accounted for somewhere on the schedule, right? Where? We typically got out the second week in June, usually a date somewhere between the ninth and 14th. This school year ends June 2.

 So when I hear millenials gripe about crazy high tuition rates, low salaries and not being able to afford to move out of their parent’s place until at least the age of 30, I don’t want to hear about those petty issues. At least millenials (and Gen Zers) had 10 to 15 days off more during the school year than we ever had. That’s a lot of additional days we’ll never get back.

Fenton’s greatest athlete of all time

 For those that missed it, Fenton’s Gracie Olsen finished her prep swimming career by winning her fifth and sixth individual event state championships of her career last weekend at the D2 state swim meet.

 People love to talk about who is the best athlete at a school. Olsen needs to be the first name mentioned in those conversations. Certainly, from a single-sport perspective she’s the greatest athlete the Tigers have ever seen in any Fenton High School building. Others who played multiple sports may have great argument from that perspective. I’ll agree with that. But for those who never saw Olsen at a state meet missed out. Witnessing her win, with grace, six titles in four years was pretty awesome.

Quick correction

 I had an email from a past generation Fenton swimmer about a week ago noting a correction. In my preview story for the girls state swim meet, I said that Fenton’s girls swim team has never won a state championship in a relay event. During one of the Tigers’ other great runs in girls school history, Teena Spees, Melanie Nelsen, Diedra Schepler and Brigitte Hanson won the 1987 200 medley relay Class B/C/D state title with a time of 1:52.95. Nelsen went on to win three individual event titles during her prep career at Fenton as well. The Tigers were pretty special back then as well, earning fifth-place team finishes at the 1986 and 1987 state meets.

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