Having first originated in 1671 when the Plymouth colonists and Native Americans shared an autumn feast, Thanksgiving is a popular holiday that holds a significant value in American culture to this day. From Nov. 22-25, students and staff at SIS celebrated Thanksgiving in various ways. While some adhered to the original purpose of Thanksgiving by practicing their unique family traditions, others simply enjoyed the brief respite from the usual academic workload.
“I spent a fair amount of time at hagwons over Thanksgiving, but the break was still pleasant for me overall,” said Jasmine Ko (10). “It relieved me of some academic pressure because I had extra time to prepare for upcoming summative assessments. Also, I was able to watch a movie with my family at home.”
Many students also took advantage of the break to study intensively for some important upcoming exams. In particular, a number of juniors reported that they crammed intensively for the December SAT throughout the long weekend, depriving them of their opportunity to convene with their families and to take a relaxing break. Nevertheless, some were able to find joy within their grueling schedules.
“My break was pretty much packed with hagwons to study for the SAT, which is to take place next week,” said Michelle Ahn (11), a student planning to take the December SAT. “At the same time, however, I believe everything was much less stressful than usual since I was able to meet a lot of my friends at hagwons.”
Seniors, on the other hand, enjoyed their release from stress caused by their college applications. Even for those who were burdened with the daunting task of completing their University of California (UC) applications, the break provided some stress relief and family time.
“Although I mainly focused on my UC applications over the break, I was able to spend time with my family as well,” said Ashley Whang (12). “I went to the mall with my sister, and we ate at a restaurant together. Also, I watched the new Harry Potter movie with my brother.”
For most teachers, Thanksgiving signified more than merely a time for relaxation or studying: it signified a time for reunion and feasting. Many celebrated Thanksgiving by spending time with their loved ones, following their distinct family traditions, or expressing gratitude for various aspects of their lives.
“I celebrated Thanksgiving with my immediate family,” said James Fischer, AP Language and Composition teacher. “Since Jessica Terbrueggen, my wife, was busy cooking all day, I tried to help her out as much as I could. This year, we cooked pork along with casseroles, mashed potatoes, and pies.”
From preparing for upcoming exams to spending time with their close ones, students and staff at SIS made meaningful uses of the Thanksgiving break. Overall, the majority seemed to have appreciated the respite from their everyday experiences.