Winterfest week offers a plethora of fun diversions


Lauren Batterbee

The start of 2022’s Freshman class window painting, including Abby Schnelker

At FHC, volleyball is a sport available to girls during the fall season. Except when it isn’t.

However, this week, on Monday, Feb. 6, volleyball will be played by boys during winter: more specifically, during Winterfest. Macho Volleyball is one of the many Winterfest traditions at FHC where junior and senior boys participate in a volleyball match. Many of the students who are not participating also go to watch the event, including senior Lucy Mclean.

“I think [Macho Volleyball] is hilarious to watch,” Lucy said. “You get to see all the guys on different sports teams, but you don’t usually see all of them together, working together and playing against their friends. I think it’s funny how seriously they take it, which makes it even better.”

Lucy is entering her last Winterfest week, and she couldn’t be more excited. She is planning on attending the Macho Volleyball game to support her classmates, and she is excited to be participating in the actual planning of the events as a member of the student council.

The student council at FHC plays a part in planning every major dance and the events surrounding it, but Winterfest has one of the lighter workloads, without the float building and lip-sync choreography like Homecoming.

“Winterfest is not nearly as stressful as Homecoming,” Lucy said. “All we have to do is find people to do the window painting and find people to do snow sculptures. We also decide what type of snow sculpture we want to build. This year, I think [the seniors] are doing something from Avatar. We also decide on the dress-up days as a whole group, but we had some vetoed this year.”

Lucy was also planning on helping with the creation of her class’s snow sculpture, another Winterfest tradition, but sadly, that activity was canceled this year due to the weather. Despite this setback, the festive week includes many other opportunities.

Window painting, a third beloved tradition, will take place on Thursday, during first, second, and third hours. It is a great experience for anyone, regardless of artistic ability. Each winter-themed painting will be displayed on the large windows surrounding one of FHC’s main entrances. Sophomore Abby Schnelker is excited to display her talent on these windows again.

“My friend, [sophomore] Jake Barnes, reached out to me last year,” Abby said. “I had a couple of friends who were doing [window painting], and it sounded like a fun opportunity because I love drawing, but I had never really done any painting before. And plus, we got half of the day off of school.”

Last year, Abby helped the current sophomores—then freshmen—win an unprecedented second place in the window painting competition, and she plans to continue that success this year. Although she isn’t planning the painting, she is determined to be an asset to the painting team.

I would encourage people to participate because it’s something fun, especially when we do the activities with the competition side. The more involved you are, the more fun you’ll end up having.”

— Kristin O'Brien

Apart from window painting, Abby is very excited about the week’s spirit days. From Pajama Day at the start of the week to Ranger Day on Friday, each theme presents a fun diversion from students’ day-to-day attire.

“I always like Pajama Day,” Abby said. “It’s always fun and cozy, but I’m probably most excited for Color Day because I think it’s satisfying when you get a whole class of people dressed in one color.”

Winterfest week is filled with fun diversions from the typical school day routine. Monday is Pajama Day and Macho Volleyball. Tuesday’s theme is jersey/sports teams. Wednesday promises a school-wide desire for bananas with Minion Day. 

Thursday, Abby’s favorite, is Color Day—seniors will dress in pink, juniors in blue, sophomores in gray, and freshmen in white while window painting is also happening. Friday, Ranger Day, will have shortened hours due to the Winterfest assembly. And finally, Saturday is the day of the biggest event—the Winterfest dance.

The dance—possibly the most anticipated activity—promises to be slightly different this year due to an important change made by the teachers organizing the week including head coordinator and marketing teacher Kristin O’Brien.

“I’m excited and nervous for the dance this year,” O’Brien said. “We have a playlist instead of a DJ. I’m hoping the students will like it because we have given them the option of requesting the songs, but we still need to screen them to make sure they’re appropriate.”

This new system of music was brought about by a series of events including a busy DJ, a hopeful history teacher, and a number one complaint. While it may have seemed like a debacle at first, O’Brien is hoping that this new playlist will allow students to enjoy the music more than they often do.

This change is uncommon in the realm of Winterfest planning. O’Brian is more used to a tried and true plan for her spirit week.

“Usually, in about December, we start putting together plans, a schedule, and looking at the events,” O’Brien said. “We start planning everything, and then we reach out to the student council. They make signs, and we come up with the dress-up days. I’ve been doing this for five or six years now, so I’ve got a method down, and I have all of my checklists, so it’s just a matter of replicating what we’ve been doing and tweaking things if we need to.”

O’Brien’s experience, Lucy’s and the student council’s enthusiasm, and students, like Abby’s willingness to volunteer, have allowed Winterfest to be a great success in past years and continue for years to come.

Each activity that Winterfest week offers is a unique and fun opportunity for class bonding. And if you need another reason, you get to miss classes for most of them.

“It’s kind of a nice break,” O’Brien said. “We haven’t had anything [as a school] since Homecoming, and in the wintertime, there’s not a whole lot going on, so it’s something fun to break up what we’re doing in regular classes. I would encourage people to participate because it’s something fun, especially when we do the activities with the competition side. The more involved you are, the more fun you’ll end up having.”