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Palmetto & Pine

Hallothanksmas: A Tale of Three Holidays

The end of the year is supposedly the most wonderful time of the year. However, with homework and midterms, do St. Petersburg High School students agree?
Kimberly Bogran
Holiday decorations in Mrs. Vinciguerra’s classroom.

 I think it’s pretty safe to say that the end of the year is, well, chaotic. There are so many holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, to name a few. We are all running around town buying gifts for our family and friends before they sell out. We have to take time out of our days to hang up decorations (and take them down!). On top of all this, high school students get to look forward to everyone’s favorite event: midterm exams. For these reasons, the holidays can be stressful for teens. Despite struggling to buy gifts on time, studying, and the difficulty of balancing our time, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. 

“My absolute favorite holiday is definitely Halloween,” says Traditional Freshman Sloane Perler. “It’s such a fun holiday to spend with friends.” Unfortunately, schools don’t take the day off for this joyful holiday. While it’s understandable, “Schools should take Halloween off, and [assign the least] amount of homework because Halloween is late at night [and students] won’t have a lot of time,” says Perler. Similarly, Perler argues “should at least [take November 1st off] so kids can stay up, because during Halloween, [kids] are excited, and they want to talk about what costumes they’re wearing.” says International Baccalaureate Freshman Madison Harting. She adds, “I don’t think they should assign homework, but if it’s an important assignment that’s not due until [a few days] after Halloween, that’s okay.” Overall, schoolwork during the spooky season isn’t overwhelmingly stressful for students. Even though they may be tired the following day, they can power through it. I believe not taking November 1st off teaches students responsibility. As high schoolers, we can’t use Halloween as an excuse. We are young adults. We need to learn how to balance work and fun, as that will help us in the long run. 

As November approaches, so does a week-long break from school, but is a whole week off really necessary for Thanksgiving? International Baccalaureate Junior Anna Hewett strongly believes so. “Absolutely,” she explains, “a lot of people visit their families around that time, so it’s really nice to have a week off to travel and spend time with family.” Perler agrees by emphasizing that “Thanksgiving is the holiday to celebrate with family, so a week off is nice.” Years ago, most schools would only make the Thanksgiving holiday a four-day weekend instead of a week. Now that it has been changed, student morale has appeared to improve since students can look forward to a week-long break instead of a long weekend. However, for IB juniors, there is a downfall to the timing of Thanksgiving. According to Hewett, “sometimes [she] feels stressed around Thanksgiving because it’s in the middle of [a lot of schoolwork].” (This time is challenging for IB students because they are still adjusting to the program.) The IB program gives a lot of homework over Thanksgiving break, so balancing work and quality family time can be hard. So, it seems as though the week off is necessary to spend time with family, but it can also be too much of a break for students with a lot of homework. Even though they can work on it over the break, that takes time away from their families. 

After Thanksgiving is over, most students are into the winter spirit. December is full of many cultural holidays unique to every family. For example, Harting’s paternal family is Jewish, so Hanukkah is a typical celebration on her dad’s side of the family. However, she admits that they “wish to celebrate Hanukkah because [her] mom wants to keep that tradition alive, but [her] dad has never really been much into it.” It’s interesting to hear about different cultural holidays because it shows the diversity of our society. While all these holidays occur in December, we must remember what else is in December: midterm exams. These exams can cause students to be less happy around the holiday season. If specific requirements are met, Saint Petersburg High School allows its students to be exempt from up to three midterms. This allows students not to have to study for all their classes, which can lower stress. Perler acknowledges that the holidays make her feel happier amidst midterms because “It gives me something to look forward to after the exams are over.” Remember this when you are struggling to label cell organelles- after this, there’s nothing but good things ahead. 

The end of the year is full of many emotions. All of these emotions can be a lot for students to process. While it is fun to celebrate holidays with family and friends, it can take effort to balance that fun with schoolwork. “When we get assigned work during the break, we feel more stressed about getting that work done instead of spending time with our families,” comments Hewett. There’s no way to eliminate stress over the holidays because there are more factors than just school, but hopefully, Saint Petersburg High School students will learn to manage it. With that being said, Happy Holidays, Green Devils! We can’t wait to hear about how you spent your holidays!

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About the Contributors
Victoria Wirth, Staff Writer
Kimberly Bogran, Photographer

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