Have A Nice Break


Grace Biddle debates over the title of the break.

Sydney Asencio, Staff Writer

The holiday season brings hot chocolate, gifts, snow, and a sufficiently long break from school.  As students wrap up their work before the substantial two week break in December, they wish each other a happy winter or Christmas break.  What to call the extensive time off is often argued amongst school boards or officials, as there is a gray area on the official title of the break.  Most teachers I have encountered only loosely identify a name for it, and tend to avoid specification in order to remain neutral.  The debate, although prominent, is typically not discussed for these exact reasons.

The break’s starting date at State College Area High School falls on Friday, December 23rd this year.  After looking at previous academic calendars, I noticed that this is one of the first times the break has fallen over Hanukkah in recent years.  Although the majority, including myself, celebrate Christmas, this does not make it right to generalize the public.  Holiday related elements in society should be recognized more regularly, not just when a popular one is commemorated.  A formal name change to ‘winter break’, in my opinion, is unnecessary.  However, those in the technical minority should not have their ideas suppressed by any means.  Sophomore Grace Biddle agreed, “I think the school does not give enough recognition to other religious holidays.  I would love to learn about other religions and what they celebrate.”  Holidays, although oftentimes religious, offer a unique opportunity to learn.  There is a fine line between advocating for your personal religious beliefs, and just learning about them, but I believe it’s important to find a comfortable compromise.  History teachers, for example, are able to find a way to teach about politics and their significance, without skewing historical knowledge with their own opinions.

Entitling the break as ‘Christmas break’ can be the opposite of inclusive.  Although this is not a problem for many high school aged children, younger elementary students may feel left out or lonely if they celebrate something other than Christmas.  Kelsey Love, a sophomore at State High, pointed out that, “Winter break is politically correct because the winter season officially starts on the 21st.”  This way, it follows both the seasonal and school related calendars.

Instead of labeling the break in such a one sided way, it’s safer to simply leave it as ‘winter break’ to embrace all.  When you pack up during the last period of the break, if you’re afraid to offend anyone, are unsure of someone’s beliefs, or just simply confused, I’d suggest sticking with the phrase, “have a nice break”.  All conflicts averted.