Frantic students studying in the library, colder weather, and endless repeats of “All I Want For Christmas Is You” all signaled the coming of the holiday season and the much-anticipated winter break. After a challenging and swift week of midterms, many, if not all, of the KO community looked forward to the arrival of a much-needed winter break accompanied by the scenery of a winter wonderland. Both students and faculty have expressed their appreciation for the time to allow them to unwind, relax, and enjoy the holidays with friends and family. That said, here are some of the highlights from break!
Some students such as sophomore Olivia Reynolds stayed home in Connecticut, spending time with her family and shopping with her little sister. “Winter break really gave me the time to spend some quality time with my friends and family,” Olivia said. “I also was able to get closer with my cousin who visited from London.”
Several students also used the three week period to unwind after a long series of exams and projects. Sophomore Benjamin Baby chose to spend his time relaxing by watching “The Witcher” on Netflix and sleeping in. “Honestly I think I might have slept 25 hours a day,” Ben said, laughing.
Many students, like freshman Sattah Phouthakoun, spent their winter break traveling and connecting with friends and family. Sattah spent a week in Texas. “Everything is bigger in Texas,” Sattah joked, “even salads!” While only her first time away in Texas, she said she hopes to have the opportunity to visit again next winter break. “It was a great opportunity to get closer to my family and friends,” Sattah said. “I also made many new friends and visited many parts of Texas including Rice University and the University of Texas.”
Similarly, freshman Jacob Joseph used the surplus of time to go on a foreign excursion. With his family, Jacob visited Kenya and Tanzania for ten days after enduring a grueling 17-hour-long flight. In East Africa, Jacob and his family went on several safaris and got a first-hand look at African wildlife. Perhaps the most shocking part of the trip was the Joseph family’s surprise visit by a group of terrifying apex predators. “During a storm, our Jeep got stuck in the mud,” said Jacob. “There was also this huge group of lions standing only ten feet away!”
Sophomore Amrita Natarajan also traveled abroad to India, where she visited her grandparents and spent some quality time with her cousins. Amrita said that a memorable part of her trip was going up to the overbearing mountains for a few days. “The views up there, especially of the coffee plantations, were just spectacular,” Amrita added. “We also saw a surprising amount of goats and cows, which honestly may have made the view even better!”
Teachers and faculty members also had quite an exciting break. Librarian Nancy Solomon continued her regular visits to South Carolina to escape the wintry Connecticut weather. “The 70-degree weather was certainly a surprise, but a welcome one for sure,” Mrs. Solomon said. “Usually when I go down there, it’s about 50 [degrees].” Mrs. Solomon also added that she saw a surprising amount of alligators out and about in the Palmetto State.
Not everyone, however, spent their break just relaxing. Some used the time for some serious work. The swimming and diving team, for example, traveled to Orlando from Dec. 31 to Jan. 6 to train hard and enjoy the beautiful Florida scenery. Senior Marwynn Somridhivej went on the trip and had a great experience overall. “The trip was very tough,” Marwynn said, “but overall, it was a great bonding experience, and I feel much closer to my teammates as a result.” The team also gathered to celebrate the coming of a new decade on New Year’s Eve, armed with party blowers and festive glasses.
The schedule for the trip was very taxing with two-hour practice sessions twice a day for the week-long duration of the trip. Marwynn added that most practices were from 6-8 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. “The practices over in Florida were much different from our regular practices,” said Marwynn. “While strenuous at times, I definitely feel much better in shape than before.”
So whether you went on wild African safaris, reconnected with friends and family, or unwinded at home watching Netflix, we at the KO News hope you all had a wonderful winter break and are refreshed enough to take on the daunting second semester!