Power Outage


Mahnoor Rauf, Staff Writer

It’s a regular day of school for Sophomore Christina Shepich, and for just about any other student in Rochester High, as students are working in their classes and those in Shepich’s fifth hour are typing up an essay.

Many are half-asleep or half-hoping that some miracle will cause their school day to end early–and it does. In a flash of a moment, the blinks of machines shutting down are heard and students are left in darkness; the second power outage of the week just occurred.

Power outages like these affect everybody, especially those involved in activities outside the classroom. As a cheerleader, Shepich describes her outlook on the situation.

“The power outage was very frustrating for me because I still had cheer practice and we would have to be practicing in the dark since the sun sets so early now. We had to move everyone to West Middle School, and disrupt their practice to put in our practice,” said Shepich. “I wasn’t too upset over the loss of class time but this would be annoying to happen again just because I don’t want to go to West again.”

Senior Katie Dekacz also experienced some irritation as she was apart of the school play, Thoroughly Modern Millie.

“It freaked me out a little bit because I was worried that we would not be able to have our opening night,” Dekacz said. “The last time the power went out it messed up some of the tech stuff, but luckily nothing was permanently damaged and we were able to have our opening night.”

Principal Mr. Neil Deluca describes student safety during power outages as that is his biggest concern when it comes to situations such as these.

“We need to make sure the students feel comfortable because we won’t have things like heat and air conditioning,” said Mr.Deluca. “Communication with parents is also another matter to take into consideration as the phone lines are down when the power goes out. This is why student aren’t allowed to leave their classrooms because it’s better just to keep you guys where you’re at, we wouldn’t be able to communicate with anyone. The hallways are dark too, so really where are you guys gonna go?”

No power basically means no school as most classroom activities can’t go on without it. With electricity being such an important aspect to our learning environment, why does it keep happening? Gene Bilewicz, a custodian working at RHS, helps give an explanation.

“When you’re looking at a telephone pole and you see a large grey cylinder, that’s the transformer”, said Bilewicz. “It’s a majority of the problem because whenever you have a high wind, that becomes snapped right off.”

Transformers are what reduce the high voltage electricity from power plants to the lower voltage electricity used by smaller buildings such as offices, schools, and homes. John Bruner works in maintenance, and knows a bit more on the subject.

“We’ve had four power outages in the last two weeks, it was out for about six hours the one day school was off due to high winds. The only way to protect the transformers is to trim the trees in order to avoid their branches falling down onto the wires because it blows the fuses. It’s always the west side of the building going west towards Pontiac, that’s always where the problem lies,” said Bruner. “I’ve been here for over ten years in this school and every year we go through these power outages and I don’t understand why DTE (the electric utility company RHS relies on) does not do the job properly.”

An easy fix for any power outage situation would be a generator, which is something our school unfortunately does not have.

“I put it on for the bond issue to see if they would think about putting a generator in, it would be nice if they would so that we won’t have to scramble when the power goes,” said Bruner.

Unhappy with our school’s absence of a generator, Bilewicz also shares this view.

“A generator would help but we don’t have one here. There is no back up generator in this school, which is really stupid because all the other schools have one, and for some reason Rochester doesn’t,” added Bilewicz. “I guess they figure we’re not worth it.”