Students at Eastlake High School returned this fall to COVID-19 restrictions and masks, spending the past three months learning how to adapt to a strange new normal.
To strengthen school spirit and bring some joy among students before the holidays, Eastlake’s student leaders brought back the tradition of “Winter Wishes” after a hiatus last year.
Winter Wishes is a week-long holiday activity that involves gift giving. The event was held during the week of Dec. 13.
Students made a wish for gifts for friends and themselves through a survey sent out by student leaders, who tried their best to fulfill as many wishes as possible.
“Throughout the week, we pop into classes and surprise people with their gifts,” said Arjun Menon, 16, a junior at Eastlake High School and one of the student leaders who organized the event. “It helps strengthen Eastlake’s culture and school spirit, never failing to bring a smile to everyone in the room.”
This gift-giving tradition is highly appreciated by many Eastlake students.
“I feel that the gift-giving ceremony is extremely exciting, as we get the opportunity to surprise our friends with silly gifts,” said Nathan Yap, 17, a senior at Eastlake. “This activity strengthens my bond with friends and builds up my spirits going into the holiday.”
Every day of that week also had a theme for students to participate in.
Take for instance “Anything but a Backpack” Day, where students had to find creative ways to bring their school supplies.
Everything from baby cribs, grocery carts, cardboard boxes, suitcases and even a large stock pot were spotted in the Eastlake halls.
Another day’s theme was “White Out,” where students dressed in all white clothing. And of course, no holidays are complete without an Ugly Sweater Day.
Students collaborated in groups to paint several holiday-themed posters to decorate the school. The Eastlake band also put on a parade similar to Bellevue’s Snowflake Lane, marching through school hallways and playing holiday music.
Many students reacted positively to efforts by their peers to builds a sense of community. Some, like senior David Khawand, spontaneously got involved.
“When the leadership students start singing and handing a small present to a classmate, you can’t help but smile and sing along,” Khawand said.