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Why February 29th isn’t a Day to Leap Over

Keira Perkin

2020. A year that will go down in history for being one of the worst years Gen Z has ever lived through, also happens to be a leap year. While many of us may wish to forget the events of 2020, we cannot forget the one extra day that helps keep our seasons lined up with the months we associate them with: February 29th. As a leap year occurs every four years, this year, 2024, is also a leap year.

Where do leap days come from?

Since kindergarten, it is taught that there are 365 days in a year except for leap years, which have 366. However, we have been lied to for all insert your age here years of our lives because actually, the solar year has 365.25 days. 

Though the extra 0.25 of a day seems insignificant, these six hours can really add up. Imagine what you could do with an extra six hours! That is almost a complete day of school.

However, these six hours can be problematic. Without leap years, these extra hours can create countless extra and unincluded days which can change when the seasons occur.

“If we never had leap years, our months would rotate off the seasons that we’re accustomed to,” said AP Physics teacher Ms. Emily Carver. “So like summer, when it’s really warm, would slowly but surely get rotated around to become more like spring or winter.”

So, what do we do? We end up shortening our years by subtracting the extra six hours of a day that completes the solar year. But, we have to add these six hours back in somewhere. That somewhere is February 29th.

When we subtract six hours from the three years prior to the leap year, we end up with 18 “missing” hours. Then, in the leap year, we still have an extra six hours that we need to account for. So, adding six hours and 18 hours, we get 24 hours which means we get another day from the span of four years.

“We call it a leap year which is funny because it’s actually the opposite. It’s like an extra day or whatever,” said Ms. Carver. “Every year’s like a leap year except the year where you have the extra day because you leap over the extra 0.25 of a day in the years before but not on the year that is considered the leap year.”

The extra day created from four years is tacked on to the end of February causing the shortest month to become just a day longer and helping all monthly goal setters to have just a little bit longer to accomplish their goals.

Who let the four year olds into high school?

Here at San Marcos, we have two sophomore students who are child prodigies. Entering high school at just three years old and graduating at four, these students may look 16 but are actually only four years old. And though they may not know it, they happen to be helping save our seasons.

“I normally celebrate my birthday on February 28th,” said sophomore Cindy Angel Calles. “It’s exciting when I get to celebrate on the 29th because it only comes every four years so it’s pretty special and I have a party.”

 “If it’s not a leap year, I celebrate on March 1st,” said sophomore Sierra Houston. “I guess sometimes I’ll throw it out there that my birthday is on the 29th, and people will be like ‘oh my gosh. I can’t believe it.’”

Talk about a perfect two truths and a lie answer! Make sure to wish these two students an extra happy birthday on the 29th because they only get this birthday once every four years.

Also, take advantage of this once in four years occurrence! These leap days will quickly hop away from you if you do not enjoy them.

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