Winterim 2024: AM Courses

Morning Course Session: 8:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Experiencing Everest, Full-Day Course

Have you ever thought about being a teacher? Do you have a passion for kids coming from challenging backgrounds? Do you want to be a part of a school that is making a difference in the city of Chicago? Then this class is for you! Through this class students will have the opportunity to observe and serve at the Moving Everest Charter school in the Austin neighborhood. Students will experience the blessings and challenges of teaching as they get to know their own class of elementary or middle school students. Activities such as tutoring, lesson planning, putting together crafts, taking students to gym, and read aloud will all be a part of a typical day throughout this course. Students will also spend a couple of days reflecting on teaching and sharing experiences with one another. By the end of the two weeks, students will have a clear picture of what it looks like to teach in an urban setting at a school committed to helping all students thrive.

Instructor: Kristen Rusthoven
Course Fee: None
Open to: All grades

Characters of the Bible

This Winterim class  will be a Bible Study for Teen Guys!  We will be learning about God through the way he worked in the lives of biblical people!  This is a terrific way to grow your faith as you learn about how God used ordinary people to accomplish his sovereign purposes!
We will be delving into two main areas for the two week period:
1. The Patriarchs (Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph)
2. The Deliverers (Moses, Joshua, Deborah, Samson, Ruth, and Esther)

Instructor: Dick Clancy
Course Fee: None
Open to: Males only

Cooking for Guys - Registration Closed

The course will help students learn the basics of cooking, from making something as simple as brownies from a box mix to fixing a complete meal. We will cover lots of “guy friendly” foods. Students will learn the way to read and follow a recipe and will also have the chance to create on their own. The main emphasis will be quick and easy recipes. Come prepared to eat! Learn to prepare a range of foods: steak, eggs, chili, chicken, potatoes, quick snacks, desserts, pizza, pasta, cookies, etc. Students will leave the class with a notebook of recipes they have mastered.

Instructor: Brian Kelly
Course Fee: $75
Open to: Males only

Christian Witness in the Time of War: WWII and the Holocaust

The class uses feature films and documentaries to tell the story of WWII and the Holocaust and the lives of heroic Christians who took a stand for their faith.

Students will view parts of the well-known films Pearly Harbor, Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, and Hacksaw Ridge. Other films include Amen, Nanking, John Rabe, To End all Wars, Empire of the Sun, Memory of the Camps, Sophie Scholl, and many others.

The class also provides the rare opportunity to talk with, in person, some of the few remaining WWII veterans and Holocaust survivors.

Students will discover how they can apply what they’ve learned to issues in our world today and to our faith as followers of Christ.

Instructor: Scott Young
Course Fee: None
Open to: All

Design Thinking - Registration Closed

Are you a “hands-on learner?” Do you like making cool stuff?  Are you interested in making an impact on the world around you by designing solutions for real problems? Does the idea of being equipped with design strategies that companies like Toyota, Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, and Nike use appeal to you? Then this is the perfect class for you!  I teach students the critical process of “Design Thinking,” which is a method of designing a solution for a problem by including the people who experience the problem in the design process. 

Design Thinking is a cross-curricular skill that promises to prepare students not only for other classes here at Wheaton Academy but also for college and the workplace. Students will better understand how they work in teams, learn how to identify the correct problem to solve, and be equipped to design more thoughtfully and efficiently. The first week focuses on how to design while the second week gives students the opportunity to put these concepts into action by designing a real-world solution. 

Finally, Design Thinking is the foundational philosophy of our design program called “Academy by Design.” If you are interested in doing more design at Wheaton Academy, contact Mr. Burick about that program. If you are interested in joining Academy by Design or are enrolled in “AbD” as a freshman, this is a required Winterim course. However, even if you are not ready to join AbD, this course is open to you!  Again, if you have any questions, message Mr. Burick in OnCampus!

Instructor: Josh Burick
Course Fee: None
Open to: Students in Academy by Design program, and all others that are interested

Every Song Ever: The Art of Listening in the Digital Age of Music

With an endless variety of music available via streaming services, too many people are stuck listening only to the music they feel most comfortable with because they do not understand the way to listen to or appreciate the unfamiliar. This class will explore the wealth of musical genres from classical to metal, jazz to hip-hop, oldies to indie. Beginning with an exploration of the way music has been recorded and listened to for the past 100 years, students will learn the art of listening by learning to identify musical traits such as “timbre,” “texture,” “dynamics,” and “melody” that defy genre . It offers students an opportunity to become professional appreciators of music in all its diversity. Students will also be able to share some of their favorite music artists and discuss the reason they enjoy listening to their music. Finally, we will discuss a biblical worldview on listening and engaging with the lyrical content of music .

Instructor: Joel Visker
Course Fee: None
Open to: All

Fake Fights for Real People

This class is for anyone who has ever watched a fight scene and thought it looked cool or wondered how they pulled off the fight without any of the actors getting hurt. It’s your turn to learn all the tricks! In a supportive, compassion based classroom, students can learn how to do things that look dangerous while keeping everyone in the room safe. By the end of class, everyone will have their own stage combat fight they can record to show off their newly acquired skills! Note: this is a movement class, so come in comfy clothes ready to move!

Instructor: Angela Rak
Course Fee: None
Open to: All grades

Find Joy in Painting - Registration Closed

This class is designed for the novice but curious painter. We will work with acrylic paint, follow step by step tutorials for 8-10 individual paintings we will paint simultaneously. The goal is to learn or develop a new hobby, while enjoying the company of others when painting together.

Instructor: Jessica Hands
Course Fee: $70
Open to: All grades 

Guy's Gainz and Glory - Registration Closed

I played college athletics and love staying in shape. This experience is for those students who have an above average love for staying in shape and being healthy. We’ll take a field trip to a local body building gym. We’ll learn how to program workouts, talk about diet/ nutrition for the athlete, and see what Jesus has to say about the disciplined athlete. It’s a class for the hard working, but also fun loving student. It’s open to all boys, not just athletes. I hope you can join us!

Instructor: ET Thompson 
Course Fee: None
Open to: All grades, males only

How to Build a Start-Up - Registration Closed

This course will be designed to help students build confidence in the specific tactics needed to build a successful business or non-profit. The instructor will be explaining 20 critical concepts/skills involved in building any business from scratch, and giving students the opportunity to apply it to their own idea or a brand/product they already love (pretending they were the founder). By the end of the course, each student should be able to speak the language of business being used today. And even better, when they have that idea to build that business, start that non-profit, or help someone start something – they’ll have the foundational tools to do it. 

Instructor: Casey Bankord
Course Fee: None
Open to: All grades; The first three days of class, students will be required to attend a one-hour zoom meeting in the evening with the instructor.

Hunter Safety

This course will promote responsible ethical hunter conduct, emphasize the importance of wildlife management, laws, and regulations, and encourage the safe handling of firearms and ammunition. Through this hunter education program, students will obtain a better understanding of their obligations to the resource, the landowner, other hunters, and themselves. Students will be shooting at a range under the supervision of a trained instructor.

Instructor: Ken Ellis
Course Fee: None
Class Requirements/prerequisites: Recommendation by a WA teacher; must be at least 14 years old
Open to: All students over the age of 14

Intro to Construction and DIY Skills - Registration Closed

Have you ever wondered how your water gets to your sink, or why we use shingles on our roofs? Do you like working with your hands and learning more about how the things around us are put together? In this class we’ll dive into basic construction skills, learning about how houses are built, and connecting that knowledge with practical, skills you can take with you as a future renter or homeowner. We’ll mix classroom time, hands-on activities, and job site visits to integrate the topics we cover. I want you to leave this class with a better understanding of how a home works, and how to be a good steward of it!

Instructor: Keith Cocking
Course Fee: None
Open to: All students 

Intro to Lifestyle Photography - Registration Closed

Intro to Lifestyle Photography is perfect for anyone looking to enhance their skills in portrait and everyday photography. We’ll start by learning the basics of your camera so you’re confident shooting entirely in manual mode! You’ll also learn how to pose people naturally, utilize indoor and outdoor natural light to create more unique images, and basic editing. As with most skills, practice is the best teacher, so we’ll be out photographing a lot–including a full indoor lifestyle session with a family! If you love capturing taking pictures of people and catching those authentic moments, you will love this course!

Instructor: Laura Armstrong
Course Fee: None
Class Requirements/prerequisites: DSLR camera (any brand) with at least one of the following lenses: 50mm, 35mm, 18-55mm (standard kit lens)
Open to: All grades

Just Pickled - Registration Closed

Ever wonder what all this talk about pickleball is? Or do you play every day? This course is for you. You will learn all things pickleball from how to play, drills, ways to get better, how it all got started and more. Students will get to play every day along with learning about the sport. We will end each week with a tournament. I hope you are just pickled to come and play!

Instructor: Ashley Holtrop
Course Fee: None
Open to: All grades

Lacrosse: Technique and Tradition - Registration Closed

This course will cover the history of North America’s original sport, from the Native American game to the current day version played by over one million people worldwide. We will cover the rules and strategies used to be successful in today’s game. The second part of the class will focus on learning the stick skills and techniques needed to play the game at a high level. The class will spend half of our time in the classroom and half of our time in the field house.

Instructor: Geof Weisenborn
Course Fee: None
Class Requirements/prerequisites: None
Open to: Freshmen and Sophomores

The Mechanics Behind Strategy Board Gaming - Registration Closed

For many, the idea of board games conjures up family game nights with the likes of Monopoly, Clue, or Sorry. For some these are fun, but frankly, most of us don’t get too excited about them. From these beginnings though, tabletop gaming has exploded in popularity due to strategic, innovative games like Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride. This has led to thousands of new games, many with widespread appeal. This class will look at some of the most influential and widespread mechanics that undergird these games and awaken, rekindle, or strengthen a love for gaming!

Each day, students will learn about a new mechanic that is popular in modern strategy board games and play multiple games that use this mechanic. Guest lecturers will walk students through the board game design process and the history of board gaming! 

Instructor: David Rivera
Course Fee: None
Open to: All grades

Monsters, Myths, & Mysteries: The Search for Truth

Is Big Foot real? Does the Loch Ness monster exist? How do we explain UFOs? Why do entire groups of people suddenly go missing? Monsters, Myths, and Mysteries: The Search for Truth is a class that looks at why we are so fascinated by what we can’t explain and how we can ultimately find and believe in what is true. 

Instructor: Eric Bowling
Course Fee: None
Open to: All grades


In an online and app dominated world, hand crafts get lost in the flow of daily life. In an effort to keep this art form thriving as well as provide the creative space for students to put their hands to work, we are offering Project CRAFTING this Winterim season. In this class we will combine learning and friendly competition. Taking on the spirit of a competitive tv show like Project Runway or Making IT, you will be taking on daily craft challenges that will incorporate techniques like water coloring, mixed media, rubber stamping, and more! We will learn to be resourceful and creative as we take on these craft challenges. Challenges will include a Quickie Craft and a Mega Craft. A Quickie Craft is where a proposed craft challenge must be completed in 60 minutes or less. Then we have our Mega Craft that will take on a new level when it comes to time and challenge! No prior crafting experience is needed. We will learn together, compete together, and most importantly have a lot of fun together!

Instructor: Rachael Burick
Course Fee: None
Open to: All grades

Traditional Hand Tool Woodworking - Registration Closed

Humankind has been converting trees into buildings, furniture, and innumerable items for all of human existence. Come discover the knowledge and skills used by artisans for millennia, skills that are no longer commonly known. Class is active: we learn with tools in our hands, with logs, lumber, and workbenches. All tools will be human-powered; no electricity. Everyone will practice newly learned skills by building personal projects… all of which you take home to keep. Gain knowledge to become an inspired creative maker in a consumer world, understand wood’s amazing uses as one of the most sustainable resources we can utilize, and do it all powered exclusively by you!

Instructor: Edward Bouvier
Course Fee: $125
Open to: All grades

Understanding Comics: A Study of the Comic Book in Western Literature and the Impact of the Superhero on Modern Culture

As much as great works of fiction like ‘Frankenstein’, the plays of William Shakespeare or the allegorical writings of G.K. Chesterton are still taught in schools across the nation, comic books and graphic novels are becoming a part of educational studies as well. Join us as we delve into the history of the comic book in America, from the early days of the industry during the Great Depression and WWII to the modern era and the explosion of popularity of superheroes in our culture.

We will study superheroes and graphic novels from a literary perspective and discuss specific comics that were instrumental in the advancing of the genre. We will study an emphasis on Christianity in comics, looking for Biblical themes and how they can be applied to one’s faith journey and growth as a child of God.

Instructor: Joshua Winchester
Course Fee: None
Open to: All grades

Walking in a Winter Wonderland - Registration Closed

Winter in the Midwest is often a time to hunker down inside with a warm blanket and hot cocoa in front of a fire. In this class, we will learn that it is also the perfect time to get outside and explore the wonder of God’s creation right here in our own backyard! Come experience the wonders of winter at the nearby Morton Arboretum. We plan to spend some time outside every day, from 30 to 90 minutes, followed by time inside to get toasty with those hot drinks, soups, etc, while enjoying winter-themed art, stories, music, and maybe films. The Morton Arboretum has over 16 miles of trails, and we will plan to explore as much of that as possible through different types of hikes (group, partner, solo…intentional, guided, free-wandering), and, weather-dependent, possibly a day of cross-country skiing, snow-
shoeing, or ice-skating. Winter is the perfect time to get outdoors and the Morton Arboretum is the perfect place to do so. Join us and discover your inner arctic explorer!

Instructor: Jennifer Kang
Course Fee: $50
Open to: All grades

Women's Self-Defense - Registration Closed

In this class, we will teach proven self-defense techniques and strategies derived from martial arts, Krav Maga and Kickboxing. Each day, there will be a cardio kickboxing lesson and exercise to help develop your striking power, balance, and movement, as well as increase stamina.  You will learn how to use kicks, punches, elbows, and knees to defend yourself and others you care about.  You will also learn how to get out of an attacker’s grasp – such as releases from chokes, bear hugs etc. In addition, you will learn about situational awareness, skills related to stretching for flexibility, and self-care.  There will be three main goals for the class:

  1. To increase your knowledge and mindfulness of and to avoid potentially dangerous situations.
  2. Gain confidence of basic self-protection, ending the class with an opportunity to use those newfound techniques and confidence to break wooden boards.
  3. To develop better relationships with others in the class and strengthen your walk with Jesus.  We will then end each day with a 15-minute Bible study will where we will explore what the bible has to say about self-defense and protecting those weaker than us.

My hope is that this will be a class where you leave feeling more educated, prepared, and confident to handle yourself in many different circumstances.

Instructor: Kermit Ellison
Course Fee: None
Open to: All grades

Worship Leading and Beginner Guitar

Do you have a passion for leading worship? In this course, we will discover and develop the basics of worship leading. Students will receive practical instruction in guitar, vocals, songwriting and the use of technology in worship leading. In addition, we will look at Biblical foundations for worship, historical practices of worship, and current conversations regarding worship leading in the local church.

Instructor: Mat Camerer
Course Fee: None, however students will need a guitar (acoustic preferred) and capo
Open to Grades: All Grades