SCIL, We Knew Ye Well

You go away for one week, and you come back to hear the death knell of an institution.
Yes, after 18 years, SCIL as we know it is an institution – it’s served nearly a full generation of Sullivan County teenagers.
And while Sullivan County BOCES has pledged to recreate a new program out of the ashes of the old, Sullivan’s superintendents have put the kibosh on one of the biggest benefits to the program.
Its access to everyone.
Because SCIL has always been a school-day program.
Kids miss – at most – one school day a month to attend the academic program.
I say at most because in many districts, the SCIL team changed from month to month, allowing kids who excelled at the different subjects on tap for each competition to attend.
Remember what I said about access to everyone?
Holding SCIL competitions during the school day allowed kids who might otherwise be unable to take part in extra-curricular activities an outlet.
With colleges putting more pressure on kids to load up on extras and an increase in the number of households where the parents (or parent) work outside the home, today’s kids are caught between their future and their present.
They should be participating. But who is going to drive them there? Who’s going to pick them up from the new after-school meets? Who’s going to watch their little brothers and sisters while they take part in a Saturday event?
And what of that missed classroom time?
The presentation of the subject matter might not land on the Regents, perhaps, but each competition carries with it a unique mix of life skills and academics.
How do I know?
I’ve been there.
For six years, in the earliest years of SCIL, I was one of those acaletes huddled in a school gym brushing up on history for a faux newscast couched in the details of a decade. I was a senior hunched over a computer flexing my English language arts muscles typing out a mock editorial about Sullivan County’s economy and the much anticipated performing arts center at the Woodstock site in Bethel.
Funny thing, isn’t it, how I worked on a newspaper in a SCIL meet and ended up working in newspapers as a career?
Life skills. And education too.
Memorable education. The kind that I can recall like it was yesterday that I was sitting in a group of teens hashing out a problem together.
Just like we do in a staff meeting today.
SCIL as it stands may already be dead, and BOCES may well have some good ideas for the new version.
But I’d like the county’s superintendents to remember this decision when they grant permission for kids to miss school in the future.
Is a golf match worthy enough? A visiting play?
Maybe, but we’re guessing kids who miss classroom time for those sorts of activities get the OK for two things: life skills and an alternative education.
Something 18 years of Sullivan students got out of SCIL.
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  1. It is time to revisit this issue. Where oh where has SCIL/SCAL gone? Where oh where can it be? With the promises made, and our taxes paid, what a rip off it be!WAKE UP SULLIVAN COUNTY! Our best and brightest, biggest thinking kids have been robbed! Why? The reason told to me…because the miss a few days a school each year…is, well, a sad and sorry excuse. Now–where is this most wonderful replacement to SCIL, the phantom SCAL? Atleast I would have a chance to find a needle in a haystack, because it EXISTS! SCAL exists only in the minds of some school administrators, an inaccessible place, indeed.

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