Sparks fly during icy Agora week


Sarisa Chanslip

Students in Uni gym during the fire scare.

“I was scared about my history sources burning up,” freshman Heidi Wang exclaimed.

On Thursday afternoon during 5th period Agora Week, a fire alarm sounded in Uni. No fire drill had been planned. “Then I started freaking out,” says Sophomore Rose Benjamin. Freshman Sarisa Chanslip was in the room where the commotion began, and she described the smell as “electric burning,” much like when a soldering iron or hot glue gun is left turned on. The odor supposedly came from the walls. Ms. K urged the students to leave the room, and then the alarm went off. 

Students dropped everything except for their all important phones, and made their way towards the corner of Stoughton and Goodwin, pelted by sleet. Cold and slipping on snow, the crowds were diverted to Uni gym, where ice was not falling from the sky. There students and staff waited for 20 minutes, anxious about their abandoned flammable belongings. With nothing else to do in Uni gym, selfies were taken, YMCA was danced to, Sweet Caroline was sung, and the Uni building was eventually repopulated after the fire department gave the ok. 

Some students began to leave for fear of fire, while others opted to skip school because of potential snow. Nevertheless, 5th hour continued with those who were left in the building, and students moved to 6th hour classes expecting no more excitement for the day. Those who had looked at the weather forecast earlier may have been able to tell them otherwise. 

Just as things seemed to be settling down, an announcement was made. School is canceled, it said. Everyone may leave, though if you cannot, you may stay on the 1st floor until you are able to leave. More chaos ensued, as students called parents for rides. Everyone left in the school squeezed through the doors, trickling out to cars through diagonally flying gusts of snow. Rose walked home that day in the cold, despite icy sidewalks and falling snow. “It’s safer than driving because you don’t slip around as much,” they explain.

Unlike Uni, other schools in the area had planned for the storm. Unit 4 and Urbana schools had half days with pre-planned shorter schedules and an online learning day on Friday. Uni’s Agora week, however, would not be put off. The next morning, Agora continued as planned, ending the week with no new bumps, but leaving students and staff with the story of a unique Agora week to remember.