A whirlwind of activity filled our weekend as we counted down the hours until one of the most anticipated events of the year. Open House: a time when students and staff get a glimpse into dorm life. Those of us in the girls’ dorm who had put off cleaning and decorating to the last minute scurried around Sunday morning, stringing up lights, drawing signs, and vacuuming our rooms and halls. The dorm and Whistling Winds filled with luscious smells of baking treats as we prepared food for the visitors.

That evening, the lobby of the school building opened its welcoming doors to the staff, students, and visiting alumni that were trickling in out of the night’s cold. Cries of welcome echoed through the halls as students recognized alumni they had not seen for some time. The building filled with laughter and cheery chatter as we waited patiently for the signal to head downstairs.

Finally, Bailey announced that we could head down to the cafeteria for the special dinner prepared to start our evening. As we entered our cafeteria we paused in admiration of the woodsy Christmas decorations that spiced the whole atmosphere with sparkling festivity. Groups of students headed to their assigned tables to join staff families. I was seated at the Pasos’ table, and our group waited patiently to be called up to serve our food.

Everyone enjoyed the festive meal laid out for them. The food was extra good and everyone noisily enjoyed each other’s company. After dessert was served, we sung a handful of Christmas carols together and then had a time of thanksgiving to God for all His blessings. Afterwards the girls hurried off to their dorm to complete last-minute preparations while the guys, staff and visitors very kindly began clean-up for us.

Once everything was ready, we girls waited with bated breath for what seemed like forever, wondering why everyone was taking so long. Finally, we heard a commotion outside and they came flooding into our lobby. Everyone began their rounds of the dorm halls, poking their heads into all the rooms, signing their names and leaving notes for their friends. They began with the dorm and then invaded Whistling Winds, tramping up and down the stairs and filling the house with shouts of laughter. Almost too soon Mr. Pasos announced, “All right, guys, it’s time to leave for the guys’ dorm and get ready!”

The guys boarded the buses and sped off to their dorm for their own last minute preparations while the rest of us stayed on the lawn and socialized. Christmas carols floated up into the dark night air as we raised praises to Jesus. The buses soon reappeared to transport us up the hill to the guys’ dorm.

When we got to the boys’ dorm, we were surprised to find out that instead of putting up a tree and stringing lights as we had done, the boys had gone with a camping theme. They had set up a tent, fake fire, and huge wooden benches in the lobby. From the upstairs banister were displayed almost twenty flags from each country represented in the guys’ dorm. The atmosphere was very welcoming and homey and as we wandered through the halls, we admired the unique and creative decorations that truly made this dorm a guys’ dorm.
As we were coming to the end of inspecting each room, Mr. Pasos announced that the guys had a surprise for us. We made our way to the already crowded lobby. As the girls, staff and visitors elbowed for room, all of the guys and their deans lined up along the bannister. Mr. Pasos announced that, due to the helpfulness and energy of those who had stayed behind to clean up after the meal, all the work was completed already, meaning the girls would not have to clean up after the fun evening. We cheered, then listened as the entire guys dorm serenaded us with “In the Bleak Midwinter.” Finally, they donned colourful sombreros and merrily belted out “Feliz Navidad,” then flung candy down to thank us for visiting their dorm. We ducked as it fell among us and headed out into the night with a song in our hearts and laughter on our lips.

~ Rachel H., Grade 10