HOLLAND — Going back to school can be hard after a long winter break, but it’s a little easier for Holland Christian High School students.
That’s because they’re not going back to the usual routine, but to classes like crocheting, songwriting, winter sports and yoga.
It’s the fourth year Holland Christian has launched the second semester of school with Winterim, a week-long program that gives students the chance to learn outside of the traditional curriculum and classroom setting. It was developed and coordinated by retired Holland Christian teacher Jason Mejeur and late Holland Christian teacher Kevin Witte.
Many of the classes are taught by Holland Christian teachers, but there is also a lot of teaching and support from guest instructors and local businesses. Students have a variety of options when selecting classes: They can pick a morning and an afternoon class, an all-day class or they can do an internship at various businesses and organizations in the Holland area.
For some of the students, Winterim is the chance to learn some valuable life skills.
Sophomores Chloe DeWitt and Noah Bosgraaf expect to get their driver’s licenses soon, which is why they took the Car SMART class to learn how to do basic maintenance and recognize problems on their future cars.
“I want to be able to take care of my car, and I want to know what to do if something happens,” DeWitt said.
“I feel like I don’t know how to do anything yet, so it’s nice to learn,” Bosgraaf added.
Senior Jared Cross already knows quite a bit about cars, but took the class to learn more.
“I enjoy working on cars as a hobby, and I can always learn more, ” he said.
Instructor Dale Homkes said it’s typical mix for his class to have students who work on cars and some who have never opened up a hood.
“I have a passion for cars, and I like teaching students that if they do things right, they have a reasonable expectation of getting where they have to go,” he said.
For some, Winterim was a chance to just have some fun. Some of the students spent the week with the kindergarteners in Holland Christian’s nature-based Forest School to bond with the younger kids and help them with their schoolwork.
Despite a week that included heavy rain and snow, instructor Bryant Russ said his students had a great time and kept saying they wished it was around when they were in elementary school.
“I’ve been so impressed by the kids’ enthusiasm, creativity, and toughness,” Russ said. “We went into this week hoping to get a glimpse of what Forest School is all about, and I think all of us have had an even better time than we imagined.”
Kristi Lokker is in her fourth year of teaching “Cosmetology as a Career” for Winterim. She said in past years, she’s had students who took it because they were interested in cosmetology as a career. However, this year’s students were in it for the fun.
“I thought it would be a fun thing to do with friends,” sophomore Skye Thopson said. “It’s also cool to get a spa day and learn about self care.”
Sophomore Stella Vankampken agreed.
“It’s life skills,” she said. “Plus, how could you not enjoy a day of doing things like nails and hair?”
— Follow this reporter on Twitter @SentinelErin.