The Urban School celebrates Winterfest

Katherine Weltzien, Staff Writer

Charlotte Worsley, Dean of Student Life


What is the goal of Winterfest?

There’s research that shows schools need to build in what they call rally points throughout the school year, so the school can just take a break and have some fun, so that’s what our goal is.


Why did the school choose this time of year for Winterfest?

Some of it is just because of where it fits, but I think winter because it’s long. And that means some of the activities are happening in the rain, but it just allows something to look forwards to.


How did Winterfest come to be?

When I first came in the 90s, we had an all school trip and the whole school would go camping. So when we stopped having that, we said ok we should build in days for the school to do things together since we’re not doing the all school trip. So the first thing, before we had month of understanding and before we had the service learning curriculum, Identity and Ethnic Studies, any of that, we started by having a diversity day. The morning was about learning, but the afternoon was always about celebrating, with dance and music and cooking and all that. So then when we got rid of that because we put it in the curriculum, the Peer Resource kids took over and they did sort of mental health days. So there were all these fun activities. So Kaern [Kreyling] is really the one who came up with this idea. And then they decided to focus on other things, so the Student Committee took it over. Original the activities were run by faculty, so they were the ones who came up with the ideas. So they were designed to be things that were within a teacher’s area of interest but wasn’t taught in the classroom. And then, I can’t remember why, but one year we were just like, ‘let’s have the seniors do it’.”  


What would the ideal Winterfest activity be from your perspective?

Something that a senior’s really excited about, so they’ll follow through. Something that is pretty easy to plan, because everybody’s so busy. I need a variety so every student wants to come to school and do something, because if I don’t have things students want they won’t come. I mean, they’re required to come but they won’t want to. I like to have a few activities, like this year’s Pixar and Chill and Napolean Dynamite that can take a lot of people. The 7th core value of the school is using the city as a resource, so it’s important that some are out there using the city.


Is there anything else you would want students to know about Winterfest?

Well mostly that it’s designed to be fun for students, so that’s what makes it keep going, student’s getting involved and getting excited.


Parker Sela (‘17)

What winterfest activity are you leading?

My activity is The Secrets of Sci-Fi. I’m doing that with Rose Fajans. we are watching and analyzing the show Firefly and discussing genre and tropes in sci-fi and how it fits into life.


How did you come up with that idea?

When I was a wee freshman in Winterfest, two seniors I really looked up to did a sci-fi activity of their own, and I was like ‘I want to do that!’ So after I inherited Sci-Fi club I was like ‘oh well, I guess I should do a sci-fi related activity’ and then it was just a matter of picking an episode and talking about tropes, because they changed it this year so you can’t just watch TV. So that’s why we included a discussion of trope and genre.


How do you think your activity will help students bond and relax?

It will definitely be relaxing because I think everyone enjoys watching TV, and it will be bonding because we hope a lot of people will share their ideas about tropes and Sci-Fi. I know that I really like hearing what other people have to say about my favorite things, and we have a lot of people who have already seen the show and some of these episodes, so I’m excited to hear other people’s thoughts.


Alexandra Fontana (‘18)


What activities did you do?
I was in Phtograph-tea and Tasty Recipe


How was your experience?
I liked It. I liked walking around the Japanese Tea Garden. And they had a great cheesecake. It was nice to spend time in nature.


Do you feel your activities helped you bond with other students and relax?
I was say they accomplished it very well. We drank tea and talked and bonded, so I would say it was pretty successful.