Winterim 2021 Pivots to Springterim 2021
By Brian Karsten
When brainstorming a theme for Winterim 2021, we immediately decided that it might be nice to use the theme that all of Grand Rapids Christian Schools had adopted for the year: “All Things. Hold Together.” At the time, it felt appropriate to unify our January semester with everything else the school was doing. As Winterim is a celebration of different passions, interests, skills, and connections at work within our high school, the “All Things” part of the theme really resonated.
A pandemic, a postponement, the constant potential of virtual learning, and dozens of other unanticipated changes later, and the “Hold Together” part of the theme felt a lot more relevant. And yet, thanks to the creativity, patience, and enthusiasm of our staff and student body, things did hold together and Winterim 2021 was... different... but a success nonetheless.
Reflecting back, perhaps rather than borrowing our theme from GRCHS, we could’ve used a well-known proverb: “Necessity is the mother of invention.” This was definitely the case this year.
With Winterim travel being impossible and Winterim internships harder to come by, we had 50% more students on campus than in a typical Winterim year. More students meant we needed more classes and more creative offerings. We were excited to have staff propose many new courses (some of which benefited from the March weather). And we also partnered with new guest instructors and community partners to put together enough courses to fill our catalog.
In addition to a lot of new and exciting courses, we offered two new, creative Winterim offerings.
First, with the help of the GRCHS counseling department, we created a new experience centered around college visits. 70+ students spent Winterim 2021 touring colleges (either in-person or virtually) around the nation, learning about what God may have in store for them after high school.
And secondly, we partnered with Coursera to offer online, asynchronous courses to 40+ students that had the opportunity to learn about everything from Dinosaurs to Fashion to Philosophy. Both of these new offerings will be considered as we begin planning for Winterim 2022.
Winterim 2021 may have not been what we expected, but it was still an exceptional opportunity for GRCHS students.
At the conclusion of Winterim, we celebrated some of those opportunities in our Winterim chapel with a video made by Winterim interns Isaac Schultz, Ire Alarape, and Lily Nykamp. Watch it here and experience Wintierim 2021 for yourself!
Brian Karsten is the Winterim and Summer Session Coordinator, teaches English (Science Fiction Literature, AP Literature) at Grand Rapids Christian High School where he also coaches forensics. He has been with GRCS for fifteen years.