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Blue skies prompt Washington school to cancel classes for 'sun day'

May 03, 2013|By Devin Kelly

From the standpoint of sun-scorched Southern California, the message splashed across the website of a Washington state private school almost looked like a joke.

 “SCHOOL CANCELLED DUE TO GREAT WEATHER! WAHOOO!”

In rainy, cloudy Bellingham, about two hours north of Seattle, students and teachers so rarely see a full day of sunshine that Bob Sampson, the principal of Bellingham Christian School, declared Friday a “sun day” and gave students the day off to celebrate. 

“It’s just a day to create some anticipation, some joy,” said Sampson, who picked up the phone at the school. He and a teacher came to work that day in case any students showed up.

In the morning, the grounds were deserted except for a group of eighth-graders assembling for a day trip to a Seattle zoo.

Luke Austin Coty, 14, said he was looking forward to hanging out with friends and seeing the penguins.

“I think it’s awesome that our principal is nice enough to give us a sun day,” Coty said.

The school, with 205 students enrolled in grades K-8, had not used any of it "snow days" this year. Sun day is the replacement.

Originally, sun day was scheduled for Thursday. But it was cloudy.

“My kids look forward to it,” said Tracie Lease, who has two children currently attending the school. “Especially if we don’t have a snow day, we have a sun day.”

Sampson said the idea stemmed from his memory of sitting around as a kid, waiting for the radio to announce that school was canceled due to snow. That excitement could just as easily apply to sunny weather, he said.

Lease’s 14-year-old daughter, Abbie, who was heading to the zoo, said she has siblings and friends spending the day in a classroom.  

“They’re very jealous,” she said.

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@devkelly17

devin.kelly@latimes.com

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