“Sleigh bells ring, are you listening/ In the lane, snow is glistening/ A beautiful sight/ We’re happy tonight/ Walking in a winter wonderland,” croons popular singer Michael Bublé.
Even though it does not quite look like a “winter wonderland” currently, with the hectic schedules and busy lives we all have, the KO community is definitely ready for Winter Break to begin.
Students and teachers alike have expressed that they are hyped to finally have time for themselves: to relax, catch up on sleep, and spend time with friends and family.
For example, junior Madeleine Pelletier said she was really looking forward to a large amount of free time. “I’m really desperate for this three-week vacation, during which I’ll be catching up on sleep and finishing episodes of ‘The Office,’” she said.
Madeleine also said she is excited to go spend a day with her whole family in New York, a tradition that they celebrate each year. “We’ll spend time in a hotel together,” she said, “then go shopping. Then we’ll go to see a Broadway musical every time we’re there, so like this year we’re going to see ‘Dear Evan Hansen.’” She said it’s so much fun just being with her extended family, especially since she does not see all of them very often.
Similarly, sophomore Niki Taylor said she is excited to spend the holidays with her family, switching between five family members’ houses and celebrating Christmas traditions. “One tradition in my family is that my cousins and I all go over to my grandma’s house and help her decorate her Christmas tree, which she usually happens to get the first weekend of my winter break,” she said.
Niki also said she is happy about the way that this year’s winter break has fallen, since it will be around three weeks long. “My brother is at college in Georgia right now, so he’ll be coming up here, and my family from Oregon will also come in,” she said. “It’s nice having a lot of time off so we can spend it with them.”
Many members of the community said they are excited to travel to warmer destinations. Senior Matt Safalow said he and his family will be spending about five days in Cuba, during which they will mostly be exploring the capital, Havana, and its surrounding areas as well as spending time on the beach. “I’m most excited for seeing a place that hasn’t had much influence from American culture because they’ve been cut off from the US for about 50 or 60 years,” he said. “Cuba is also one of the last countries other than North Korea that’s still communist, so I’ll get to experience what a communist country is like before they possibly change.”
Librarian Nancy Solomon also plans to travel, but she will be staying within the U.S. She said that she and her husband will be traveling down to South Carolina for about two weeks. “We will just be hanging out, going to see a lot of movies, reading books, and spending a lot of time together,” she said, “since we’re so busy when working here and don’t have as much time to relax.” Mrs. Solomon said she mostly hopes that the weather will be substantially warmer down there than in CT.
Various KO sports teams will have team trips during Winter Break. The swimming and diving team, for example, will be traveling to Orlando, Florida from Dec. 17 to 21. Senior Nick Spina said he will be going on the trip and is looking forward to it. “The Florida trip really brings the team together and it helps us training-wise,” Nick said. “It’s because when you’re there, you spend literally all your time with your teammates.”
Nick said that the trip marks when the season really starts. “After the trip, you’ve grown closer to everyone and made stronger bonds,” he said. “You also feel stronger for the season because you’re in shape.”
The team has a strenuous schedule, practicing for two hours twice a day. Nick, who went on the trip last year, said that although the drills in Florida are easier than those in standard practices, they end up being more difficult because of how tired everyone is. “It’s kind of hard to explain, but the water at the YMCA we go to is just different and we end up having to pull a lot harder and a lot more work is required.” He also pointed to the fact that the practices are 6-8 a.m. and then 5-7 p.m., so he said it’s hard to swim first thing in the morning and then again after a long day.
Although not for sports, junior Hannah Shames will also be in Florida for a few days. She said that she and her family will be in West Palm Beach, visiting her grandfather. Afterward, Hannah said they will go skiing at Stowe Mountain in Vermont.
Likewise, junior Maggie Eberle said she and her family will be driving the whole 24 hours down to Jupiter, Fla., to visit her grandma, an annual family tradition. While there, she said they will relax on the beach, hang out, and visit the Loggerhead Marine Center, a center for rescuing sea turtles. Maggie also said she plays pickleball with her grandma, a game similar to tennis, but played with a wooden racquet.
There are so many possibilities during Winter break, so make sure to take advantage of all your free time! Relax, hang out with friends, stay in shape for winter sports, enjoy time with family, celebrate the holidays, or catch up on sleep. Be sure to enjoy it and appreciate the precious time that you have because it’ll be ripped away from you pretty much as soon as break is over.