Students usually do not celebrate their fourth birthdays during their sophomore year of high school, but Grace Gosnear is not a typical sophomore.
Gosnear is one member of a very small, exclusive club of “Leap Day Babies,” people who were born on Feb. 29, a group that includes 19th-century composer Gioachino Rossini. A Leap Day occurs only once every four years, so people born on leap day are few and far between. In fact, Gosnear is the only student at Conestoga with a Leap Day birthday.
Google celebrated Leap Day with a doodle recognizing Italian composer Gioachino Rossini born on Feb. 29. Screenshot Lavi Ben-Dor/The SPOKE
Gosnear usually has to celebrate her birthday on Feb. 28. This year, she said that she is excited to celebrate on her actual birthday.
“It’s like a regular birthday like everyone celebrates, but I’m turning four instead of 16,” Gosnear said.
Having a leap day birthday has some drawbacks. Most organizations that require online registration, such as Facebook, do not recognize Feb. 29 as a valid birthday. Gosnear said that her date of birth is rejected from websites “all the time.”
English teacher Tricia Ebarvia is a fellow “Leap Day Baby,” and all of her students are excited to join in on the celebration.
“The kids are all bringing something in,” Ebarvia said. “They asked for a party so I said we could have [one] on my birthday.”
Sophomore Grace Gosnear (left) and English teacher Tricia Ebarvia are able to celebrate their true birthday this year. Federico Mosconi/The SPOKE
Ebarvia is willing to treat her birthday with extra enthusiasm because Feb. 29 is so special to her. She has never been satisfied with substituting any other day for her actual birthday.
“When I was little I used to celebrate on the first [of March] because that’s when Feb. 29 would be, but I don’t like March,” Ebarvia said. “I’ve always been conflicted about when I should celebrate it.”
The minor annoyances that come with such an uncommon birthday do not detract from Gosnear’s excitement and anticipation that accompany a quadrennial celebration. She plans to spend her extra-special Sweet Four going to New York City with her friends.
Kelly Benning can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.