Half Day Returns

The Half Day, which included various activities, is back by popular demand.


Footage from the dodgeball tournament that was held at the last half day back in November.

This Thursday, December 22, we will have another half day that the faculty and staff at Derry Area High School have organized for us.  There will be many fun Christmas-themed stations to go around to instead of anxiously sitting in classes awaiting for Christmas break to begin. 

“I have a scheduling brain so I can conceptualize how to put together large activities,” says Mrs. Gardner.

Mrs.Gardner used to do fun half days like this at the elementary school and the students and teachers loved it.  So, when she moved up to the high school, she brought it with her so the high school’s students and teachers could also enjoy them.

“I think half days are a great way to have a little extra fun before Christmas break, even though we would all rather sleep,” says Junior Jaydn Hart 

These half days seem to be going very well.  At the last one, there were no disciplinary issues and the stations were flooded with excited students.  Most students even said they had a lot more fun than they thought they would have, earning the opportunity to venture around the school with their friends and participate in fun activities that they got to choose themselves.  It was a very freeing experience for students.

“I love my friends, being able to see them for a long time with my favorite teachers is the best,” says Senior Dante Aukerman

It’s good to give teens their free time and a little independence every once in a while, and it’s refreshing to see that Mrs. Gardner definitely agrees.  Before she came to our school, we just sat in classes for a half day doing nothing while other students were participating in some sort of athletic tournament.

“It’s important to allow students to participate in activities they actually want to do,” says Mrs. Gardner.  “If students just want to sit and read; sit and read.  If they want to do an athletic activity – great, do it.”

These fun days are a great way to give students a little brain break and time with their friends, especially right before the holiday break.  Students really appreciate Mrs. Gardner’s efforts to organize these fun, thoughtful days.

“It’s a lot of work, but I think it’s so important,” says Mrs. Gardner.  

“These are the moments that create the memories that kids want to have coming out of high school.”

Activity Length Location Supervising Teacher(s)
Volleyball Tournament 1-4 pd Gym Spencer C.Smith Mikeska’s
Craft/ Holiday Card making for Nursing Home Cafe Smolleck T.Smith Kunkle
Snowboard Tuning/ Waxing Williams
Drawing Interaction H-419/H-423 Sabo Battaglia
Credit Recovery All G408 Hower
Future Fair Planning & Polar Express Movie (Must have Golden Ticket to Enter) ALL G408 Hower
Ornament Making Deemer
Cornhole Aux Gym Hill
Kettlebell HIIT Workout Fitness Center Smeltzer
Uno/ Scrabble Tournament Curcio
NUMB3RS Marathon ALL F317 Croll
Christmas cookie decorating F319 Schweinberg
Nails and Hair Makeover F325 Hudak
Gingerbread House Making Bushey
Sled Riding AG Building Dorazio/Rippole Ungvarsky Clawson
Meditation Retreat Pizarchik
Board Games, Puzzles, Card Games E308 Ferris Dunaway
Video Games- Mario Kart, Minecraft for Education B-119 Mylant Vinopal
Coloring, Color by Numbers, 3D Puzzles G404/G402 Giannini Shawley
Yoga H412 Markle Pizarchik
FFA Shop Projects/Related Work Ag Shop Campbell
Harry Potter Movie Marathon ALL H415 Moser
Quiet crafting, coloring, and card making E304 Harr
Christmas-themed “Escape” room H422 Kemmerer