Originally posted on The Buzz Magazines by student reporter Sutton Walsh
If you ever come across a teen that says they are looking forward to the end of Winter Break, I guarantee that you are face-to-face with a Post Oak High School student.
Jan. 5 is a day of disappointment for adolescents across the country. No more late night movie marathons. No more head-to-toe fuzzy attire. No more endless cups of Swiss Miss. Rolling over in bed on the first day of school and shouting “Alexa, turn off the alarm!” marks the beginning of a long, sluggish, and boring start to the spring semester.
Jan. 5 is a day of excitement for students at the Post Oak High School. Students fall asleep with butterflies in their stomachs and awake with hearts in their eyes. Wait a second. Are they about to not have any homework? Are they about to spend an entire two weeks focused on a specific subject tailored to their personal interest? Are they about to enjoy themselves at school? Why, yes. Yes, they are.
Each year after Winter Break, the Post Oak High School community participates in two-week course intensives. This anticipated period known as “J-Term” creates a smooth transition back to school by offering students the opportunity to explore a unique area of interest. From personal finance to laser cutting and woodworking, to online gaming, students gain hands-on and in-depth experience in subjects that don’t typically appear in a traditional school curriculum. These courses are inspired by passionate students and led by experienced faculty.
Under normal circumstances, the vast majority of J-term courses are travel opportunities. Students explore China, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Spain, and, for those who prefer staying closer to home, a small town in Texas called Seymour. From engaging in extensive archeological digs, to creating culturally centered documentaries, to viewing and analyzing famous art, students become fully immersed in a different way of life. These trips instill a lasting sense of cultural appreciation, establish enduring connections between peers and faculty, and create valuable memories that students cherish beyond their time at Post Oak.
The pandemic may have halted travel opportunities, but students and faculty agreed that J-Term would persist through virtual, in-person, and hybrid courses. A whopping 32 students joined in with On Par: The History, Culture, Rules and Etiquette of Golf, while video game lovers fawned over the Philosophy, World Constructions, and Online Gaming option.
To parents’ delight, Personal Finance continues to be a favorite, and many students decide to repeat this course throughout their time in high school. Who knew that students would have so much fun learning about stocks, taxes, and auto insurance? Clearly not the school systems that completely left this subject out of high school curriculums.
Students leave J-Term with life lessons, new friends, and a great subject for their college essay. Further, students develop a deep appreciation for this unique component of Post Oak.
Senior student Sarah L. says, “I think J-Term is something that the school does really well and is important because it gives students out of the classroom, unconventional learning.” While this “unconventional” way of learning may be “unusual” in the eyes of traditional schools, Post Oak sees the value in allocating time for students to immerse themselves in personalized areas of interest that produce more engaged, passionate, and well-rounded individuals.