At Maumee Valley
It is a cold winter, and as 1976 draws to a close, Maumee Valley must face the reality of an energy crisis. It looks as if the gas needed to heat the school during the coming January will be too expensive, or, even worse, not available. MV will have to close for the first few weeks of the new year.
Hans Jones, an MV parent and owner of the Commodore and Secor Hotels in downtown Toledo, offers an unused floor of the Secor Hotel to the school. Another parent supplies a moving truck to transport desks and other furniture from MV to the hotel. For the next month classes are held in the hotel.
The curriculum is basically unchanged, but athletics are at the YMCA and labs take place at the Medical College of Ohio. Some teachers take advantage of the downtown location, using the library or giving architectural tours. Charles Lundholm, head of Upper School at this time, signals the beginning and end of classes by ringing a hand bell.
Thus Winterim, a month-long intensive study of one subject, was born. But the above situation was not the reason. Rather, it was a coincidence, occurring at the same time someone suggested combining two existing programs: Senior Projects and Mini-blocks.
Senior Projects, part of the curriculum since 1960, occurred during the month of May. Most projects were internships in the local area, but there were some bizarre exceptions, such as one student's four-week study of leisure. Seniors finished classes in April and did not take second semester exams. Started during the 1972-73 school year, Mini-blocks took up two weeks at the end of each trimester and ranged from one period a day to all day. Students could take one all-day course or a couple shorter ones. Different courses were offered each session and included Olde Time Confections; Beginning Fabricated Jewelry; Gesamtkunstwerk; Advanced Stamp Collecting; Paddle Tennis; Isle Royale-Backpacking (Ron Euton); Handball; Toledo Area Park Trip (Jenny Barthold); Weight Lifting and Conditioning for Men; Typing I (Sam McCoy); Dendrology (McCoy); Science of Creative Intelligence; Juggling; and Canoeing (Stan Fischer).
The first year of Mini-blocks, there were six Mini-block sessions, a "scheduling nightmare," according to Mr. Lundholm. The next year the number was cut to three.
Sometime during January 1977, while at the Secor Hotel, someone suggested combining Mini-blocks and Senior Projects. The first Winterim (a word coined by Ms. Barthold) was the following January. Teachers offered classes at school and their homes, and some students did independent studies. The MCO program grew out of MV's labs there the previous year. Group trips, offered before at various times during the school year, also became part of Winterim.
"There has always been a problem with Winterim and parents," Barthold says, because many feel it is a time to goof off. To dissuade feelings like this, she suggested having a time to display progress completed during Winterim. Winterim Fair has been around since the second Winterim, in 1979.
The issue of when to have future Winterims divided the faculty; some teachers wanted it in January; others, in May. They voted, and a fifty-fifty split resulted. Former Head of School Jerry Millhon cast the deciding vote, choosing January.
Currently, Winterim resides in November to coincide with the Winter sport season.