Winter Workshop Wonderland

Hundreds of first graders from the district’s elementary schools came to the high school from December 17-19 for Winter Workshop. The kids made crafts, played with robots and danced.

Building upon previous years, volunteers held the 25th annual Winter Workshop from December 17-19, giving elementary students an opportunity to experience the high school.
First graders have been coming to the high school for Winter Workshop for many years, but every year, it slightly changes as technology education teacher Richard Curtis and his elves aim to improve the experience.
“Decorations always change every single year. I know that it’s important that we like to keep it fresh for ourselves, but we also try to push the experience level what we can offer [for] the first graders,” Curtis said.
Not only do the decorations change, but some of the activities the first graders do change as well.
“I think I’ve seen the kids have a lot more fun this year. The activities, I think, are a lot more creative,” sophomore Hannah Lavery said.
Each of the elementary schools first graders come throughout the three-day period.
Once the kids arrive, there are four different rooms the kids go to where different activities await.
“We have them build a toy in the wood shop room. We have the robotics room where they play with robots. The photography lab makes a Christmas greeting card that they then can give to one of their relatives,” Curtis said. “Then, it’s a DJ dance party in the TV lab making music videos. Super fun.”
In [technology education teacher Greg] Wesolowich’s room, the kids got their pictures taken.
Using Photoshop, high school students then created photos of the kids in front of a penguin.
Then, according to junior Evan Kutzler, the first graders got to color Christmas cards for whomever they wanted.
“I’m making this for my mommy,” first grader Yasir Johnson said. Johnson was smiling as he independently colored his card.
Some of the high school students thought it was nice that one of the rooms allowed the kids to dance the whole time and be themselves.
“I think they are much better at just coming in and dancing, because you don’t really have to have an artistic ability for that,” junior Alissa Lagrotte said. “You can just dance however you want. You can stand there for all we care, we’re just trying to have fun.”
Some of the high schoolers played different roles during Winter Workshop than others. Some students walked the kids from room to room, and they noticed other things the first graders enjoyed.
“I think the kids enjoy seeing the school the most. The faces they make are unreal because the school is so big from their perspective,” junior Abigail Heuchert said.
Each of the high school students volunteer to be a part of Winter Workshop for a different reason.
“I did it last year and it was really fun. I enjoy it and I want to be an elementary school teacher, so this gets me some experience,” Lavery said.
According to Curtis, he also enjoyed Winter Workshop this year for a variety of reasons, too. “Seeing first graders happy, seeing high schoolers happy and [seeing] that cohabitation exists really kicks off the Christmas holiday,” Curtis said.