TACOM, Wash. – For many high school students, mid-February typically offers a break from studies for the Presidents Day holiday or a mid-winter break.
However, while they may not be in class — or even in the state — students attending Charles Wright Academy are definitely still learning. For more than 30 years, the college preparatory school has used this time to give enrolled students an opportunity to explore themes and activities outside the established curriculum. While experiential learning is a hallmark of the school’s teaching style, Winterim takes it a step further by leaving the classroom environment entirely.
Each year, faculty at the school design programs organized around the themes of art, community service, outdoor education, cultural experience, and new skills. Options run the gamut from courses on chocolate or filmmaking, volunteering with area Boys & Girls Clubs, beach clean-up at Chambers Bay, or investing sweat equity at a local Habitat for Humanity project.
According to Bill White, Head of Charles Wright’s Upper School, “the program is an integral part of our student’s education. Requiring students to work outside their comfort zones by living in a home in a foreign country with a family you have never met or spending hours tutoring students at the boys and girls club is challenging. Some of the greatest lessons in life occur when individuals are asked to do things they have never done before or feel they have no skill to complete. Students often learn they have talents and abilities they never realized existed. While math, English and science lessons are put on hold for a week the experiences students have and the confidence they develop often has a profound impact on their lives.”
Other students opt to explore art and culture within a number of countries including Italy, Poland, Colombia, Ireland, and France.
This year’s Winterim courses include:
- Oregon Shakespeare Festival
- New York for Actors, Musicians & Explorers
- Backpacking Utah’s Dark Canyon
- Auto Engine Building, Performance & Car Buying
- Raku Pottery
- Sci-Fi Science
- Volunteer projects including Habitat for Humanity and Chambers Bay & Salmon Creek Clean-Up
- Learn to Rock Climb