Holland Christian High School students didn't return to a typical class schedule after winter break.

They've returned to classes like crocheting, cribbage, escape rooms, car maintenance, improv, screenwriting and an "Amazing Race."

The school is now in its third year of Winterim, a week-long program that gives students the chance to learn outside of the traditional curriculum and classroom setting. It was developed and coordinated by retired Holland Christian teacher Jason Mejeur and late Holland Christian teacher Kevin Witte. Many of the classes are taught by Holland Christian teachers, but there is also a lot of teaching and support from guest instructors and local businesses.

"Many seeds are planted throughout the week and we are confident that the efforts of so many will bear fruit in the near and distant future," Winterim director Chuck Commeret said. "We are crazy enough to believe that our kids are capable to transform the world through Jesus Christ. Winterim provides tangible ways to do that immediately, and in ways that nurture their hearts and equip their minds for fruit-bearing opportunities in the future."

He added, "Learning is fun and should be run after with reckless abandon inside and outside the classroom."

Winterim is two-fold: Students can either choose to do an internship for the week or they pick two classes, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

Lydia Frens, the coordinator of the intern portion of Winterim, said 135 juniors and seniors are participating in off campus internships at 117 different businesses and organizations this year at places like Worksighted, GDK Construction, Quality Car Wash, Holland Hospital, Hope College, Outdoor Discovery Center, Crown Motors and JR Automation.

"Students invest a minimum of 30 hours at their internship sites so that they can get a good sense of what going to work every day in 'their' job is like," Frens said. "They have the unique privilege of learning all they can about a specific career, including the best ways to prepare themselves for it. It's good news if they love it, and equally good news if they decide it's not for them."

The on-campus classes, mixed with off-site field trips for many of them, also boast a wide variety of areas for students to choose from.

For many, it's an opportunity to experiment outside of their normal class schedule. Amy Peterson, who is teaching a Watercolor Painting 101 class, said many of the students are new to art.

"I'm in orchestra, so I'm not able to take art too," said Grace Vanderlugt, as she painted some planets in the Watercoloring 101 class. "It's nice to get the chance to do things that you can't fit into your normal schedule."

"And if you end up liking it, you can still do it outside of school," added fellow student Claire Sterenberg.

For others, Winterim is a chance to explore their existing interests in a different way. Physics students Trevor Palmatier, Ryan DeWitt and Thomas Cygon took the Rube Goldberg Machine class, where students are building complicated, multi-step devices to do a simple task like ringing a bell, lighting a lightbulb, hitting a button to play music or staple a piece of paper.

"We're all in physics, so we're all interested in how things work and move and it's something we could take together," Palmatier said.

"It's just awesome to build random things," added DeWitt.

Some of the classes aren't connected to the normal school curriculum at all, but are practical skills. Holland Christian paraprofessional Mary Rozendal decided to teach an "Adulting 101" class with her friend Betsy Muir, a retired home economics teacher. The class teaches students various everyday skills like how to hem clothing, how to iron, how to sew on a button and how to make a bed with hospital corners.

"I have a college-aged daughter and we were talking about things people should know before I went off to college," Rozendal said. "I put out a poll on Facebook asking people what they wanted to know, or what they had wished to know, before they left home. I got a huge list of responses."

The students were grateful to have the chance to go to Rozendal's home and learn various skills.

"I'm an exchange student, I'm living in someone else's home and I wanted to be able to help," said Grorgia Casdaglo from Italy.

"I'm 18, I'm heading off to college," said senior Anna Prins. "I'm going to need to know this stuff."

— Follow this reporter on Twitter @SentinelErin.