Grace - “Farewell 2016”
Over Winter Break I experienced quite a bit, but one day that stood out to me in particular was New Year’s Eve. Starting in the early evening, my December 31st was loaded with boisterous and highly enjoyable events. At approximately 4:30, I was picked up by the Myers Family, and we went straight to Francesca’s for an early dinner. The food there was definitely delectable and delightful! I had a lovely assortment of seafood and topped that off with a chocolatey cake. After that, I headed back to Amelia’s house for a little while, and we let our food comas settle in and digest. After 45 minutes or so, we drove to the Marriott Theatre to see Singing In the Rain, a musical that I was hardly familiar with. The cast we saw was incredibly talented, and I left the theatre stunned. It was an incredible production, especially the fact that they used gallons of water to duplicate the scene in which the main character, Don Lockwood, sings and dances in the rain! After we watched the amazing musical, we drove back to the Myers’ house for even more of a celebration. We got home and decided that we would celebrate the coming of 2017 twice, once in New York time, and once in Chicago time. Since New York is an hour ahead of Chicago, we technically blew our obnoxious but essential blowers at 11:00. Their poor cats were very confused and annoyed, so we made an agreement to keep the honking to a minimum after 11:01. Right after we said, “Cheers!” with our sparkling grape juice, we got some snacks, blasted some music, and had a dance party right in the middle of their family room. It was quite eventful and definitely worth it. When we were all danced out, we lugged ourselves back to their couches and watched the Chicago countdown. We chanted through the last seconds of 2016, and before we knew it, 2017 was right before our eyes. We erupted like volcanoes, and the cats were unsettled once more. We blew our blowers for a short time, and watched the TV blare for a little while. Surprisingly, their dog slept through the whole bash. We noticed we were slowly crashing, so we headed upstairs. That day was a day I won’t be forgetting anytime soon, and it was definitely the best way to head into 2017.
Amelia - "A Christmas Tradition"
For Christmas my family has a tradition that has gone on since I was little. On Christmas morning my brother and I race down the stairs to the tree. Then after we have opened all of our presents, we walk over to the laundry room to look for our “big” presents. Sometimes it is big like a scooter and then sometimes it's something that we really wanted. This year I got a book all about the making of the musical Hamilton. Whenever I was finished opening my presents that were under the tree, I was always disappointed when I didn’t find that one gift I really wanted. Sure enough that present was in the laundry room. Some years it was in the washing machine, and other years it was in the laundry room closet. I hope this tradition will continue for generations.
Anjan - "Chicks for Christmas"
This Christmas, I received a $25 Visa debit card, and I spent a long time thinking about it. Finally, I decided to purchase a flock of chicks. Before that, I was on the verge of getting a Nerf gun. Now, I don’t have a flock of chicks in the backyard, if that’s what you’re thinking. I paid $20 to donate a flock of chicks from the nonprofit Heifer Project International. They donate the flock of chicks to someone in need. Their motto is “Why give someone a glass of milk, when you can give them a cow?” For just $20 dollars, they donate a flock of chicks, all the equipment needed to raise the chicks, and all the training needed to raise the chicks. On their website, www.heifer.org, they sell rabbits, cows, alpacas, llamas, sheep, ducks, etc. and donate them to people in need. Over the years, Heifer has donated and provided $1.5 billion to farmers in need around the world. I feel so much more satisfied that I changed a family’s life, rather than purchased the Nerf gun I really wanted. And better yet, I even got the Nerf gun I was on the verge of buying in the form of a birthday gift!
Matthew - "Shredding the Slopes"
Over winter break, my family and I usually go somewhere for vacation. This year it wasn’t the tropical and boiling Florida, but instead, it was Breckinridge, Colorado. Needless to say, it was frigid, but that didn’t stop the family of six from going on an awe-inspiring adventure. I’ve been snowboarding practically all my life, along with my father, Scott, and my sister, Catie. It is something we all love to do, but we only went a couple times a year. What I like to do most when snowboarding is the intimidating terrain park. The terrain park is basically like the skate park for the snow. It is packed with jumps of all shapes and sizes, and of course one humongous jump at the end. We stayed at a hotel on the opposite side of the terrain park, which made it hard to access. So it wasn’t until the last two days we were able to get over there. The first day went pretty smoothly. No one got hurt and we were just messing around. However, that day we were avoiding (quite purposely) the enormous jump at the end. We knew we had to fly down that thing. The next day all I wanted to do was go to the park. My dad and I arrived and practiced for a bit, but the time had come. We both came to the acceptance that we had to shoot down it before leaving. Imagine a 15-foot hill leading to a jump with a gap of 10 feet. We saw people doing backflips and all sorts of crazy maneuvers, but all we cared about was making it to the other side (without dying of course). I leaned forward on my board and began to pick up speed. I looked forward and there it was, the jump we had been wanting to conquer. Luckily, an intermediate like me went straight down and prayed for the best. I shot off the edge of the ramp and flew in the air. I safely landed and thankfully didn't touch down in the middle of the gap. I never regretted a single moment of it, but I’m glad I didn’t attempt a backflip first try down.