The Story of Stinsmas


As 2020 comes to an end Shepaug students are trying to make the best of holiday spirit. Seniors at Shepaug are especially getting involved with a remake of the 12 Days of Christmas. Many December activities have been canceled this year due to Covid, but “Stinsmas” still remains.

Each year seniors at Shepaug are involved in a class, Senior Project, where they take part in a year long project of their choosing. Beginning in December, the senior students must participate in the month-long assignment called Stinsmas. We have all heard of the song “12 Days of Christmas”, but students in the senior project have the knock off version called “12 Days of Stinsmas”. This activity gives seniors 12 new assignments for 12 days. Although it might not be the most exciting Christmas activity, it sure is beneficial for the progression of the students’ projects.

The senior project teacher that created these assignments is Mr. Stinson, widely known throughout the school as “Stins”. “I created Stinsmas with the other senior project teachers as a way to move the kids forward before the Christmas break. It really helps the students tie loose ends together, giving them a great jumpstart into the second semester”, said Stins.

With more than fifteen years of experience, Stins and the other senior project teachers have utilized this assignment as a way to make the students feel more confident in the progression of their project. Shepaug senior Brooke Donaghey, said, “Stinsmas has helped me feel quite accomplished in how far I’ve come in my project. I am almost done with my Stinsmas tasks, and being able to cross off all of my finished assignments has been very satisfying”.

Another Stinsmas participant, Ava Adiletti, spoke about how Stinsmas has helped her feel more motivated to get work done in a senior project, “There is a hard deadline for all of the assignments, which I think helps a lot. Stinsmas has helped my time management skills so much and I am grateful for it because I have gotten so much work done and I am so motivated to continue my project”.

Although the festive activity was created to aid in the student’s project progression, there are some kids that feel that it is a bit much in such a short amount of time. Izzy Stange shared her take on the assignment, “I see why it is important and it definitely has its benefits. But it is quite stressful and it is a lot of work that needs to be done in a short amount of time.” A lot of seniors would agree that, although the assignment is very helpful in the long run, it is also very stressful while they are participating.

Every year, the senior project teachers tweak certain little things in the Stinsmas assignment that will help the kids for the next year. “I don’t make any major changes, but I always revise it based on feedback from the kids; like what worked and what didn’t work for them”, Mr. Stinson commented.  Even though the students might not think the work is going to be helpful for them while they are doing it, in the long run, they will always benefit from it in one way or another.

With Christmas break right around the corner students are working hard and finishing up the twelve assignments. Despite the different opinions on Stinsmas, seniors know it’s beneficial toward their project in the long run. To wrap up the end of these assignments and raise spirits there will be a ugly sweater contest for senior project as well. This will bring a positive end to the 2020 school year and a fresh start to 2021.