Prefect Council and SLIDE host Winterfest assembly


Hannah Shahidi/Chronicle

Students watch the Jazz Singers perform at the Winterfest assembly.

Hannah Shahidi

Prefect Council and Student Leaders for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (SLIDE) organized the annual Winterfest assembly with performances from Jazz Singers, Jazz Explorers and String Ensemble on Dec. 15 in Taper Gym. In addition to musical performances, the event featured students and faculty who shared stories, poetry, videos and dances.

Sophomore Prefect Eric Lee 25 said he enjoyed seeing students enjoying themselves during the assembly and other winter activities leading up to the event.

“It was an overall great experience to see everyone having so much fun during [Winter Week],” Lee said. “Also, I loved the cultural emphasis and exposure that I saw. It was extremely informative, and I got a chance to cheer on my fellow peers.”

During the assembly, students heard speeches from History Teacher Larry Klein about being Jewish and celebrating Christmas, Brandon Aghnatios 23 about renewal during the winter season, Jewish Club Leaders Charlotte Newman 24 and Manu Markman 23 about Hanukkah, Fallon Dern ’23 about finding community and Performing Arts Teacher Zanaida Robles about celebrating Kwanzaa.

Newman said she wanted her presentation to make other students feel comfortable talking about their own holidays.

“[The Jewish Club] wanted to make sure we did justice to Hanukkah which is a holiday which often just gets written off,” Newman said. “I know a lot of people don’t necessarily pay close attention to all-school assemblies but I hope people learned something new about Hanukkah. I hope it made people feel like they can talk about their own holidays with other people who might not celebrate.”

Along with performing English songs from their repertoire, Jazz Singers also sang in Spanish. Robles said singing in different languages allows the choral group to recognize different cultures.

“Being in an English speaking community in an English speaking country, where many people celebrate Christmas, we forget that we’re not the only ones and that other cultures exist,” Robles said. “As a group, we’re constantly in a search for new things that connect us to other cultures and the rest of the world. Singing in other languages is one way that we do that.”

Kai Do ’24 said she enjoyed seeing different cultures and holidays being represented in the program.

“My favorite part about Winterfest was the variety of activities there were,” Do said. “During the assembly this year, I found the speeches to be very entertaining and in fact they actually did help me get into a winter spirit. I am happy that the event included different cultures, given how many different traditions are celebrated at our school. I wish tests and midterms just didn’t exist so that we could fully enjoy Winterfest.”