A brief WinterMission replaces midterms

The inaugural year of WinterMission welcomed an interesting respite following everyone's return from Christmas break.

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A brief WinterMission replaces midterms

The Cafe Nardin WinterMission group visits Overwinter Cafe downtown to learn more about the process.

The Cafe Nardin WinterMission group visits Overwinter Cafe downtown to learn more about the process.

Maura Ende

The Cafe Nardin WinterMission group visits Overwinter Cafe downtown to learn more about the process.

Maura Ende

Maura Ende

The Cafe Nardin WinterMission group visits Overwinter Cafe downtown to learn more about the process.

C. Krabak '19, Writer

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One of the busiest times of the year, January marks the start of a new calendar, the end of Christmas break, and the transition into many students’ second semesters. For the Nardin community, however, this month’s festivities reached a new level of excitement as students and faculty kicked off the school’s first annual WinterMission. Dedicating a week to experiential learning that extended beyond the classroom, teachers carefully planned out trips and activities that exposed Gators of all grades to real-world situations. Ranging from on campus setups to environmental or political experiences in Washington, D.C. and Costa Rica, the groups each focused either a service or career oriented set of skills.

During the two school days leading up to WinterMission, teachers took the much anticipated event a step further by organizing school-wide House competitions and several service projects. Competing for points, each House took on tasks including choreographing a number for Nardins first ever House lip sync competition. Flooding the halls with school spirit, the commotion served as a perfect introduction for the week to come.

To get some feedback on the Winter Mission experience as a whole, I interviewed several students:

 

What was your favorite part about your Wintermission?

“Being able to spend time with the students in my school that I have never met before, including the upperclassmen. I also loved being able to learn outside a classroom.” A. Gioia ‘22; “We are Talking Proud Buffalo”

 

“My favourite part of my Wintermission was being able to create our own escape rooms. After our field trip to the Lock and Key escape rooms, it was interesting to see the different logistics and mechanics that go into creating an escape room. It was especially fun when we got to create an escape room for others to experience as well as trying others out.” S. Gill ‘19; “Problem Solving”

 

“Playing with the children at the school, zip lining, and swimming in the ocean” A. Chmiel ‘19; “Costa Rica”

Being able to spend time with the students in my school that I have never met before, including the upperclassmen.”

— Abby Gioia

 

“Painting with my best friends” J.Bevelaqua ‘22; “Nardin Curators”

 

How did learning in a real-world environment differ from learning in a classroom? What is something new that you took away from this experience?

“Learning in a real-world environment helps me and other students be able to remember what was was mentioned a lot easier. It didn’t feel like learning which made it more fun even though I definitely did learn a lot. Something I took away from this was that learning can be fun and you can learn new things everywhere you go.“ A. Gioia ‘22; “We are Talking Proud Buffalo”

 

“I feel that this real-world environment allowed us to stretch beyond the four walls of a classroom. Instead of being a student in a seat all day, I was able to be more hands-on and creative with my escape room project.” S. Gill ‘19; “Problem Solving”

 

“I learn so much more when all of my senses are involved! When in Costa Rica, I was able to process and comprehend so much more of what our tour guide was saying than I would of in a classroom because there were so many sights, smells, and noises to go along with the information we were learning.” A. Chmiel ‘19; “Costa Rica”

 

I learn so much more when all of my senses are involved!”

— Amanda Chmiel ('19)

“Learning like this was much better than a classroom. I was much more relaxed after break and I feel refreshed and I took a lot of new bonds with my friends from WinterMission and pride from our artwork.” J.Bevelaqua ‘22; “Nardin Curators”

 

 

So far, Winter Mission has received extensive positive feedback. A truly unique opportunity, the program is giving Nardin students the chance to explore their personal interests outside the confines of a classroom, a practice that almost all participating students found rewarding. Additionally, bringing students closer together, the event not only allowed the school community to learn more about their chosen topic, but it provided a chance for girls of all grades to explore more about each other.

 

As time passes, it will be interesting to see how the Winter Mission experience takes shape. Its inauguration marks a shift in Nardin’s foundation from an era of tradition to one of new schedules, increased freedom, and unprecedented styles of learning. Though it is certainly changing, the school still stays true to its mission statement: “Inspiring hearts and minds to do amazing things for the world through faith, character, academic excellence, and service.” Winter Mission’s success so far is evidence of the unparalleled spirit, dedication, and passion that forms the backbone of the Nardin community.

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