Not Just Christmas: How Williston Students Celebrate Other Holidays

Students+at+the+Hanukkah+Party+Hosted+by+Williston%27s+Jewish+Club.%0ACredit%3A+Mr.+Seamon
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Not Just Christmas: How Williston Students Celebrate Other Holidays

Students at the Hanukkah Party Hosted by Williston's Jewish Club.
Credit: Mr. Seamon

Students at the Hanukkah Party Hosted by Williston's Jewish Club. Credit: Mr. Seamon

Students at the Hanukkah Party Hosted by Williston's Jewish Club. Credit: Mr. Seamon

Students at the Hanukkah Party Hosted by Williston's Jewish Club. Credit: Mr. Seamon

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The majority of schools in America, including Williston, have a winter break for students to be able to celebrate the popular holidays of Christmas and New Year’s. 

Many students can celebrate the popular Christian holiday, but others wonder if it is fair that only Christians get to celebrate their holiday in their entirety without having to attend classes during the Dec. 25 observation. Occasionally, practicing Jews share in this joy when the dates of Hanukkah land close enough to Christmas, but what about other religious holidays that occur during an active day or week of classes? 

Sophomore Shayna Kantor is an active observer of the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur, the holy day in the Jewish year, which is often celebrated by fasting and praying. She celebrates the holiday by fasting, attending Friday night services as well as Saturday morning services. 

But celebrating the holiday this year, October 8-9, was difficult because of scheduled classes at the same time.  

“This year and last year I had to miss school because of it,” Shayna said. “I still had to do all my homework while I was fasting at home.” 

“I think at least for Yom Kippur they should have no homework that night or maybe a half day,” Shayna recommended. “Something more accommodating for Jewish students considering that even if we do go to class our work ethic will be impaired because we’re fasting because we are observing the holiday.” 

Many students of other religions face the same feeling of unfairness. Senior Vishnu Sekar celebrates the Hindu festival of lights, Diwali, which generally takes place mid-fall.  

“We celebrate with having music and fireworks throughout the course of five days and we also share traditional sweets with our family and friends,” said Vishnu. 

But participating in the celebration can be difficult when attending class is required. Vishnu said he wasn’t able to celebrate the holiday this year due to the festival taking place during assessment week. 

Academic Dean Greg Tuleja said if students want to take time off from classes for important personal reasons they can work out acceptable time and a plan with the teachers. He clarified that “anything that is important to a student or a family can be worked out.”

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