PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - While many South Mississippians were out celebrating Mardi Gras Tuesday, students in the Pascagoula School District were in class learning. More than 7,000 students were required to attend class as part of a makeup day from January's ice storm.
Even though they were in school, teachers and students were still able to have a little Mardi Gras fun.
Instead of heading to Fat Tuesday festivities, students wore their favorite Mardi Gras beads to class to learn reading, writing and arithmetic. Jackson Elementary teacher Latoya Fortenberry was pleased all of her second graders showed up for class.
"Absolutely, and it is a lot warmer in my classroom than it is outside, so I think they are having fun," Fortenberry said.
Superintendent Wayne Rodolfich said the overall attendance numbers for the district were also pretty good.
"We have had a good turnout. We have the official numbers from yesterday; we had an 88 percent total at school. We usually have 94 percent to 95 percent, so there was about a six percent reduction," Rodolfich said.
It was the nasty winter weather in January that forced the school to close for three days. The district had to come up with makeup days, which included Lundi Gras and Mardi Gras Day.
"Basically, we had two big holidays that were left in the spring, and we figured more children would attend on Mardi Gras day than the spring break days. We have a contractual obligation with the state of Mississippi to teach school 180 days a year," said Rodolfich.
Mardi Gras wasn't totally forgotten about at Jackson Elementary. The fourth graders hosted an afternoon parade after they finished their school work. Tanya Perez said even though she spent her holiday in class, at least she was able to have a little Carnival fun.
"I am kind of happy because we get to celebrate it here, and it is fun when a lot of kids come and celebrate it," Perez said.
Students and teachers in the Pascagoula School District will also have to attend school on Memorial Day.