What do Teachers do Over Winter Break?


Isabella Leyton, Contributing Writer

Have you ever wondered what the teachers do during winter break? With our two weeks off we either go on vacation, relax at home, or visit our family. Believe it or not, the teachers do the same!

Disney with DiCarlo

Maria DiCarlo, head of the math department, resumed her annual trip to Disney World this holiday season. Since the pandemic began, her family didn’t travel to Disney during winter break but instead went during another time in the year when it was less crowded. This year, they spent Christmas at home and went to Florida during the second week of the break. 

DiCarlo said she does not go on the big rides because it gives her motion sickness, but her kids love them. In Epcot, she joined them on the new Ratatouille ride, but sat out on the new Guardians of the Galaxy enclosed roller coaster. Her favorite ride is Soarin’, where you feel like you are gliding above the most beautiful places in the world. She said her kids love the Avatar ride, Flight of Passage, which is located in Animal Kingdom. 

In Animal Kingdom, DiCarlo said they “had a really good safari this time because the animals were coming really close to the Jeep.” While in Magic Kingdom, her kids are obsessed with Space Mountain and also enjoy the Haunted Mansion. For dinner, she liked dining at the Polynesian hotel restaurant, Ohana, where they serve all-you-can-eat Asian food family style. On their last day, she also went to eat brunch at Disney World’s Beach Lodge, where the staff purposely acted obnoxious! For example, her family wanted ketchup, and the staff said that to get it they had to yell out to the whole restaurant “We need ketchup!” The previous table that requested ketchup brought around 20 bottles from their table over to theirs. Then, they had to keep all of the bottles at their table until someone else wanted ketchup. It was definitely a memorable experience!

New Orleans with Sagotsky

Chemistry teacher Matthew Sagotsky traveled to New Orleans with his dad for the first week of the break. This was the first family trip he has gone on in over 20 years. He said it was exciting to experience and explore the American south since he hasn’t ever had the chance. His father lives in Chelsea, but they wanted to escape the city together and go somewhere warm. New Orleans was much colder than normal because of the arctic blast that affected most of the country during the first week of break. He planned to fly back home on Christmas Eve, but just like many, his flight got canceled and he didn’t arrive in New York until Christmas Day. Soon after returning, he drove to his Aunt Sassy’s house in Jersey and he stayed there for 3 days. He saw lots of his family and cousins that he hadn’t seen in a very long time. Many of his cousins now have young children of their own, so Sagotsky spent a lot of time surrounded by five toddlers. For Sagotsky, the holidays are best spent with loved ones. 

Vermont with Tycenski

Middle school health teacher Patricia Tycenski drove to Mount Snow in Dover, Vermont for the break, which has become a go-to vacation destination for her family. Her father in law and her sister’s family joined her and her family. While Tycenski’s family went skiing, she stayed warm inside and finished three books. She considers herself a “huge reader and [she] feels like [she] can never read during the school year for pleasure.” She felt grateful to have all three of her children with her at the same time. Tycenski has a son who graduated college, a son who is a junior at Clemson, and a daughter in high school. For Christmas, Tycenski received a watercolor painting of her dog from her daughter. Her dog’s name is Tenner and he is a yellow lab/golden retriever mix. Coincidentally, she gave her son’s girlfriend a drawing of their dog, however, she used a different company that created a more cartoon version of their pet. 

Favorite parts

Tycenski said that her favorite part of the trip was watching three generations of her family ski and spend time together. DiCarlo’s favorite part of the trip was walking around Epcot and trying the wine and food at the Festival of the Holidays. Epcot is designed to have different sections designated to different countries. While walking around the park you feel like you are walking around the world! Just like DiCarlo, Sagotsky’s favorite part of the trip was getting to eat all of New Orleans delicious food. He said that he “had the best shrimp and grits of [his] entire life.”


The Holidays

Every year DiCarlo said she hosts a big Christmas Eve party. For appetizers she presents a large charcuterie board. She always makes lots of seafood dishes, including shrimp, calamari and crab dip, embracing her Italian roots. She invites her friends who come from different cultures. Her Irish and Jewish friends join her family for their feast. They give each other Hanukkah/Christmas gifts and celebrate together. Tycenski makes the same Christmas dinner every year, but each year she takes turns with her sister in the kitchen. When she was a child, her family would have the classic turkey dinner, but her parents grew sick of it. Now, they have filet mignon (which they usually cook on the grill) with a large variety of sides including baked potatoes and green bean casserole. Her dad used to hand-make the bread rolls. This year,  Tycenski’s daughter continued the tradition and made the bread. Having traditions during the holidays gives a family something to look forward to and makes them even more special.

On New Year’s Eve, DiCarlo went to Animal Kingdom during the day because Magic Kingdom and Epcot are always very packed. At night she watched the University of Georgia Bowl Game because one of her daughters is currently a student there. Georgia beat Ohio State 42-41. The Ohio State kicker missed a field goal right at midnight, when the new year began!  Tycenski went to the new Avatar movie with her husband while her kids were out celebrating.  Sagotsky went to Jersey City to visit his best friend Julien and his wife, Emily to hang out and have a meal together. 

Winter break is a time to spend with family members and friends you hold most dear. The teachers took advantage of these two weeks away from school to travel and honor their holiday traditions.