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Winter Games Bring Fun and Friendly Competition Over the Saints Six-Week Stretch

Kelly Slonaker

Throughout the Saints Six-Week Stretch (the weeks between the return from Winter Break and the start of March Break), students engaged in some friendly competition and showed off their skills in various activities during Canterbury’s first-ever Winter Games. Students were split into six inter-Form teams to compete in everything from chess to 3-on-3 basketball. Each team was captained by a member of the Sixth Form Council and chose their own name, showcasing students’ creativity and humor. Over the six weeks, the Flying Mongooses, Columbia Cavaliers, Blue Lightning, Fire Breathing Dragons, Team Kobe, and the Golden Eagles faced off on a number of challenges.
 
During the opening weekend, the itinerary included ping pong, cornhole, and Connect-4 tournaments and a highly competitive three-point contest. The following weekends saw teams competing in dodgeball, kickball, volleyball, and basketball tournaments; Canterbury’s Got Talent; baking contests; and amusing challenges, such as a paper airplane toss, stacking golf balls, and building towers with spaghetti and marshmallows. The competitions continued during the week, where students flexed their problem-solving muscles with “Math Mayhem Monday” and “Riddle-Me-This Thursday” and peppered their teachers with questions during “Guess-That-Faculty Friday.” 

Challenges and itineraries were emailed to all students and shared on the Canterbury Student Life Instagram account, making many of the events accessible to in-person and remote students alike. Assistant Dean of Students Elyse “EJ” Soifersmith and science teacher Kevin Conroy served as “Commissioners” of the events and announced team standings throughout the week and at School Meeting. “The Winter Games were a blast and added excitement and (mostly) friendly competition during this Saints Six-Week Stretch,” said EJ. “The team captains did a great job rallying their teams to participate, and every competition had high energy and was well attended. The students were committed to their teams and played to win!”

The students certainly enjoyed the festivities and got into the spirit of the games. Benjamin Secor ’21 was one of the most frequent and enthusiastic participants in the activities and challenges and immensely enjoyed the competition of the games. He shared, “The true spirit of the Winter Games is participation. From making a basketball hoop out of PVC pipe in the new Innovation & Design Lab to baking brownies in the Brodie Room, the Winter Games challenged students to go outside their comfort zones.” Ella Olcese ’21, team captain of the Flying Mongooses, loved spending time with her teammates: “My team just made me smile with every point earned. While communication was a challenge in the beginning, I loved getting to know more students and knowing that we were all working toward a common goal of gaining more points. As a team captain, I was so happy to see students from all Forms smiling and having fun together.”

There was no single frontrunner amongst the teams, and the lead changed from week to week. The final tally for the Winter Games saw a very close win for the Columbia Cavaliers—they beat the Golden Eagles by only 2.5 points! Thomas Cho ’21, Sixth Form Council member and team captain of the Columbia Cavaliers, said: “I loved the fact that the whole student body was competitively engaged in all different types of games and competitions. It was a lot of fun to watch and participate. It felt great to win because my team has been working hard over the six weeks and the race for first place was extremely close.”

While the Winter Games concept was born out of the pandemic, it is an event that many hope will carry on and become an annual tradition. To be sure, it was wonderful to see our students enjoy themselves while showing school spirit and embracing challenge after challenge.