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Student & Alumni Stories

Lifelong Learning

The wonders of Winterm. Students, teachers, and faculty make the most of an in-between week.

Winterim is a week-long opportunity for students to develop a new hobby, learn a new skill, discover the community and outdoors beyond campus, or complete a project that may not fit in a traditional academic schedule.

Winterim is a week-long opportunity for students to develop a new hobby, learn a new skill, discover the community and outdoors beyond campus, or complete a project that may not fit in a traditional academic schedule. “We hope students get off campus and explore the city of Asheville or the surrounding parks and forests for at least one Winterim during their four years,” says Megan Grant, the faculty chair for Winterim. “My advice for new students: Sign up for a Winterim that sounds interesting to you and don’t worry about what your friends are taking. It is also a chance to learn from a faculty member who is not your classroom teacher.”

This past year, students tried something new outside of the regular curriculum at Asheville School, whether it was rock climbing, writing music, riding bikes, studying Biltmore through a historian’s eyes, beekeeping, or sharpening their money skills. Here are a few of the students’ favorite memories.

Creole Cuisine
By Sasho Yang ’23

“No recipe was ever needed—our eyes, taste buds and her experience were enough to make the food magnificent. As Ms. Delly would say, every dish comes out a little different every time because of the ratio of spices, the cooking time, and ultimately the chefs’ mood. My personal favorite was the squash, chicken, and root vegetable soup—the tender, warm, sweet bites of carrots and turnips tasted like a long hug that I don’t get that often anymore. The session always ended with us sharing the meal, and I heard a lot of laughing. I hope more people can experience the ten-course feast, Ms. Delly shouting “it’s never spicy enough, baby,” and the satisfying feeling of flattening a deep-fried piece of plantain.”

Financial Literacy
By Logan Brunk ’23

“After mornings full of test prep, I took the Financial Literacy Winterim course early this spring. Though it might sound like a terrible lack of foresight on my part to go from SAT prep over Zoom to what might initially sound like an accounting class, I enjoyed this course because it allowed me to explore the necessary yet woefully undertaught subject of money. During the course, we took a trip downtown to understand the nuance and inconvenience of public transportation in Asheville while discussing alternatives such as leasing vs. buying cars. We visited Ingles to create grocery lists for families and students on a budget while sipping on $6 coffee from Starbucks, and we explored our interests and possible future careers, only to learn that college might not be the last time we live with a roommate. We explored Excel past the ten-minute intro you receive and then immediately forget in science/physics class, because let’s be real, most of us still have no idea how to input a line of best fit onto a properly labeled graph. I enjoyed this class and would recommend it to anyone interested and willing to talk openly about money: a vital topic often ignored in education.” 

Art History at Biltmore
By Yoyo Zheng ’23

“I could almost witness the day Mr. Vanderbilt’s ostentatious carriage rushed into the barn, celebrating the completion of the Biltmore Estate from a bald 8000-acre land. I could hear the wedding and the parties held in the Biltmore Garden, built by Sir Frederick Law Olmsted. I could taste the turkey prepared by the servants in the backhouse and the wine enjoyed by the Vanderbilts in their living room. I could smell the ink of the signature of Queen Elizabeth I and the bloody chess battles played by Sir Napoleon on his beloved set made of red and white ivory. When a conservator at the estate excitedly presented us a frame of a painting she was refurbishing recently, with the progress that appeared to be humongous to her but barely noteworthy to us, I found my answer to a question bothering me for a long time: What is so valuable about history? To the staff at Biltmore, they cherish every small impact they could make on the preservation, exhibition, and education. History is indispensable as it teaches us about life, culture, ideology, and philosophy while being a bridge connecting the past, the present, and the future.”

Mountain Biking and Trail Building
By Jinhoo Yoon ’23

“My friend Noah had tried to get me into mountain biking for a while, and with a rarely used mountain bike sitting around in my room, I decided to finally put it into good use. Besides simply mountain biking, we were also able to build and use some trails on campus. We would build or maintain trails in the morning and go biking in the afternoon. We learned techniques such as succeeding a downhill into a turn, as well as braking and gears. The last day was a fun and challenging culmination at Kanuga, a local mountain biking park. It was filled with beginner to expert routes, featuring jumps, berms, and a gorgeous view. There were some falls, yes, but everybody had fun.”

Refugee Resettlement
By Lucy Lu ’23

“We not only got the chance to learn about refugees in different parts of the world, but we also got the chance to interview Joseph Sebarenzi, who survived the Rwanda genocide, and Amy, who works for the Lutheran Services in Asheville. As suggested by Amy, here are some potential ways that we as the students at Asheville School can do to help refugees: English tutoring, grocery shopping assistance, food donation, and making friends with refugee teenagers. Imagine yourself entering a foreign country at the age of twelve with no one speaking your language. You would want some friends to back you up, right? We can be the refugee teenager’s fellows and help them adapt better to their new home.”

Jackson Pollock in the 21st Century
By Vicky Ren ’24

“Standing barefoot on a huge blue tarp and surrounded by canvases, we started to splatter paints with a stick and a spoon. At first, we all showed unwillingness to damage the blank canvas by pouring paints on them, but after Ms. Arbor kept insisting that there should not be any blank space left on the first layer, we finally gave up the struggle and began pouring casually like true artists. After hearing that Jackson Pollock would throw his hair, nails, and cigarettes into his artwork, Lydia also cut a small piece of her hair and dropped it on her canvas. It took us two hours to finish the first layer and another two hours to finish the second layer. With paint on our feet, clothes, and even hair, we briefly experienced the joy of being Jackson Pollock in the 21st century.”

How I Found my Inner Yogi
By Ginny Thorsen ’24

“The benefits of yoga were evident in our sleep, flexible bodies, and zen states. Our week of yoga included three trips to a local studio, Hot Yoga Asheville. We were all nervous for these classes with the knowledge that the room temperature would be 107 degrees, yet all twenty-two of us surprised ourselves, relishing in the sweaty experience. Shavasana was eagerly anticipated at the conclusion of each session for the chance to rest on our mats. Finally, we finished each class by sharing the word ‘namaste’ with our fellow yogis, meaning ‘the light in me sees and honors the light in you.’”