Winter Wellness in Retrospect

NASH students reflect on the Winter Wellness sessions on the last school day before winter break.


Photo by Michelle Hwang

Gingerbread House Making, one of the Winter Wellness sessions, provided the supplies for students to build and decorate gingerbread houses with their friends.

Michelle Hwang, Features Editor

At 12:15 pm on Thursday, December 23rd, students finished up their work for the day and scattered throughout the school to attend their respective Winter Wellness sessions. From gingerbread-house-making to a chess tournament, the activities were planned to reduce stress and send students off to break with one last fun hurrah, much like Wellness Wednesdays did last year. 

Two weeks out from Winter Wellness day, students have had sufficient time to reflect on their experiences and are ready to offer their opinions. Did the sessions successfully relax students’ minds before break? Is this something they would be interested in trying again? What would they change? 

Senior Rachel Hockenberry, who participated in Gingerbread House Making and Unicorn Bowling sessions, had a positive experience with the Winter Wellness activities. 

“I personally loved getting to hang out with other students that I may not normally see during the day and chatting with teachers,” Hockenberry said. “I didn’t feel as stressed out as I may have with a full day of school,” Hockenberry said. 

NASH senior Peterson Yook echoed these sentiments. Yook felt that the sessions he signed-up for, Chemistry Sweet Treats and Knitting, allowed for him to spend quality time with his friends while enjoying the activities and snacks prepared for them. 

“I had fun and made good memories that day,” Yook recounted. “I had lots of time to talk with friends before turning in for a long winter break, which is almost a hibernation and can be lonely.” 

But as with any first-time event, some participants saw areas for improvement. 

For junior Helen Ye, the revised schedule inadvertently added stress.

“I didn’t really feel more relaxed in my classes since they were so short and some teachers still tried to cram in a lot of information,” Ye recalled. 

Marissa Granite, a senior who did the Gingerbread House Making and the Holiday Escape Room sessions, felt that student participation could have been better. 

“It turned into a free period to go home,” Granite stated. 

Other students enjoyed the sessions but felt that there was not much improvement when compared to the previous last days before break. 

“It was nice to sign up for the event with my friend and end the day with her, but I probably would have just preferred to leave early,” NASH senior Maeren Quirke explained. 

Senior Venice Lin eagerly signed up for the Escape Room and Board Game sessions because Winter Wellness Day reminded her of the activity periods and mini-course days from middle school. However, the actual sessions did not feel as special as those nostalgic times. 

“[Winter Wellness] did create a more relaxed mindset, but I think it wouldn’t [have] been very different from a normal day of school because most teachers just give out study halls during the day anyways,” Lin said. 

When asked, most students suggested changes to improve future Winter Wellness days should they continue next year. 

Student Council President Victoria Ren felt that it would be better to send the schedule beforehand. 

“I think a lot of that day was a little bit up in the air for students,” Ren reflected. “It could be helpful if we were given the times of the class period arrangements instead of just hearing it from our teachers.”

Lin felt that the sessions could have been better formed.

“I think that controlling the session size is very important. My first session was board games. [There were] upwards of ten people and very few games to share, which made it difficult to find things to do.” 

There were also wishes that more students had stayed for the second half of the day instead of opting for an early dismissal.

“The only thing I think could have been improved was student participation. I definitely would have had more fun if there were more students there,” Hockenberry said. 

It’s clear that the school administration planned out the last-day activities with good intentions. And with the implementation of student-suggested changes, Winter Wellness day has the potential to evolve into an outstandingly fun and relaxing experience for students.