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Mass. high school where lights have been stuck on for over a year gets ‘Saturday Night Live’ call out

Colin Jost (left) and Michael Che co-anchor "Weekend Update" on "Saturday Night Live," which featured a gag about Minnechaug Regional High School in Wilbraham.Will Heath/NBC

A high school in Wilbraham where a glitch in its energy conservation software has left the lights on, day and night, since August 2021, got a mention on “Saturday Night Live” this weekend.

Minnechaug Regional High School got a shoutout on the “Weekend Update” segment anchored by Michael Che and Harvard alum Colin Jost.

“Due a computer error, a school in Massachusetts has been unable to turn off its lights for over a year and a half. The students are doing fine, but the classroom hamster has gone insane,” Jost joked. A photo of a crazed hamster sitting in heaps of cigarette butts popped up on the screen.


Ironically, the school’s energy conservation software is to blame for the lighting situation, ever since a power outage in August 2021 caused the persistent glitch.

Despite the SNL gag, class pets aren’t the only ones affected. Replacing the faulty lighting system will cost $1.2 million, district officials said in an Aug. 26 letter.

“For now, the lights are stuck on and while it incurs some degree of added cost,” they wrote, “the lights all utilize highly efficient fluorescent and LED bulbs, we shut off a number of breakers daily for exterior lights, and have manually removed many bulbs and fixtures from classrooms.”

The district’s superintendent, John Provost, said Friday that the lights are scheduled to be fixed over February vacation.

Until then, no class hamster will be left in the dark.

Kate Armanini can be reached at kate.armanini@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @KateArmanini.