Will 'Winterim' work?

Area school officials should check out the “Winterim” program being offered in January by some high schools across the state.
Jan 7, 2013


We often hear students and educators, supporters and critics alike wondering if our high schools are really preparing students for the future.

Grand Rapids Christian High School is launching a program this month that is designed to enrich and broaden the education of students. “Winterim” is a two-week period between first and second semesters that allows students to travel — either to another country or domestically — through a variety of educational and mission trips; or take courses in subjects they normally wouldn’t be exposed to and participate in an internship before deciding on a college or major.

Life skills such as cooking, sewing, car and bike maintenance, and personal finance could also be taught.

One of the most important tasks ahead for many high school students will be raising children. Courses related to this are another option.

Most high schools are good at preparing students academically for college, but they're not great at teaching teens to live alone away from home. This is where a week or two of courses in keeping a checkbook, cooking their own meals, taking care of their bikes and cars, and maintaining living quarters would go a long way.

Grand Rapids Christian is offering seven trips, more than 80 courses and 100 different internships.

One of the courses — “So You Want to Be a Doctor?” — is featuring various doctors from West Michigan as instructors. There are other career-oriented courses, including for future engineers and lawyers. Students are also able to delve into a variety of interests and hobbies that can cover crime scene investigation, creating mobile apps and serving in the nonprofit sector.

There are 40 guest instructors participating, as well as 100 intern hosts.

Grand Rapids Christian officials report about a third of the school’s 925 students will spend Winterim off campus.

At the end of an internship, students will have to turn in a portfolio that includes a sample resume, cover letter and recommendation from the host of the internship.

Students had to pay for their trips, but the school raised money for those who needed assistance.

To accommodate the schedule, school days started earlier and semesters were shortened by a week.

What a novel approach for preparing students for what lays ahead after they receive their high school diplomas.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.


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