Winter Sports School graduates leave class halls behind | ParkRecord.com

Winter Sports School graduates leave class halls behind

For the Winter Sports School, school is out for the winter.

Graduation took place on Friday, Nov. 17, at the Temple Har Shalom, which is where the 26 graduates began their education with the school in 2014 while the current facility was under construction. The students are the first class who entered as freshman after the school transitioned to a public charter school.

That year, enrollment doubled and the student body became more diverse, but that did not keep the students from becoming tight-knit, said Tess Miner-Farra, head of school.

"They really are one whole core. There are no cliques," she said in an interview after the ceremony. "Yeah, they fought like siblings at times, but there really wasn't anything dividing up the class. They drove each other crazy, supported one another and they got into trouble together."

The pranks and mistakes the class made together were referenced several times throughout the graduation. From starting the "Winter Sports School Swim Team" in the Poison Creek behind the temple to a student who wanted to show his medieval mace to his friends, not realizing that by doing so, he brought a weapon to campus, they had their fun, Miner-Farra said. During her first year as head of school, she said the students took her on a wild ride.

But they worked hard as well, she mentioned during the ceremony. Six students were recognized for academic achievement and four others for other achievements, such as leadership and the "spirit of the school" award. She said the class had intellectual curiosity, kindness and real ambition.

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That curiosity and ambition is what Nic Carlson spoke of in his speech as one of the graduating seniors. He mentioned the story of the student bringing a medieval mace to school when he said, "the story serves as a representation of the childlike enthusiasm our class has maintained over the past four years here.This class has character, possibly more class than any class I've seen grace the halls of the Winter Sports School."

He urged his fellow classmates to keep the wonder and enthusiasm that drove them to push the limits and reach new heights.

Sarah Hendrickson, a professional ski jumper and alumna of the school, also encouraged the graduates to maintain their determination. She referenced the story of her failures and challenges throughout her ski jumping career, but said the changes helped her grow and adapt, something she learned while at school as well.

"In the Winter Sports School (I had) my first insight about the appreciation for the process, rather than the final goal," she said. "My two years at WSS finally supported my morals. The importance of education but with teachers and staff that cared and supported my athletic dreams as well. They saw the bigger picture in life."

Teachers said they were excited for the students to continue on, partly because they wanted to see them reach their potentials, but also because they needed a break.

Kendall Godman, a senior who spoke, quoted the teacher Roger Arsht when he said, "There will never be another class like you guys. We just can't let it happen."