Winterim: Week 2 Recap - Wheaton Academy
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January 17, 2020

Winterim: Week 2 Recap

Since the program began in 1991, students have consistently pointed to Winterim as a definitive time in their life when they were exposed to something that changed the course of their future. Today, we’re sharing a few of those stories.

Answering a Call to Serve

While Lydia Rubenic ’15 was a junior and senior at Wheaton Academy, she was involved in many co-curricular activities: choir, orchestra, and theater. She even played the lead role in the Academy Theatre production of Mary Poppins! But it was an opportunity to travel to Guatemala and see the impact of medical missionaries that changed her life.

Lydia was so inspired and moved by these trips that she decided to change her college plans and take on a double major, pursuing a pre-med degree.

Last year, Lydia contacted the Independent Missionary Network (IMN), the ministry that Wheaton Academy works through in Guatemala, to arrange a trip for her to serve alongside the medical missionaries in Guatemala. This trip paved the way for Lydia to return to Guatemala with 30 of her undergraduate pre-med peers from Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Lydia Rubenic
Lydia on one of her first trips to Guatemala as a student
Lydia and Steve
Lydia joins Mr. Willemssen and current students in Guatemala this Winterim 2020

Lydia is currently taking a gap year away from college to devote her time to a yearlong missions program with IMN. She is traveling regionally as she works to create a culturally sensitive public health curriculum and to develop a gap year program for passionate students who desire to deploy to the mission field. 

This Winterim, Lydia traveled with and served alongside current Wheaton Academy students.

Finding Joy in Teaching

In internships, students get to try out a profession first-hand. We believe that internships will help students make decisions about their major in college, and help them to see how God has uniquely equipped them for what’s ahead. 

On Thursday, our 2020 interns gathered to share their experiences at a celebration brunch. Mrs. Chaney kicked off the event by recalling her own teaching internship during her time as a student at Wheaton Academy. Next, student speakers shared how their experiences are influencing their decisions about the future.

Sophomore Lily Lebo interned at an elementary school. “Teaching can be so rewarding!” she shared. “Over the course of two weeks, I saw students improve in basic but important skills like math and reading. It’s crazy to me that I got to have a little part in helping them grow. Now, going into college, I know that this is something that I really want to do.

Lily Lebo shares about her internship at a local elementary school.

Discovering the Diversity of Science

Classes are another opportunity for student’s to discover a calling or passion in their lives.

In the Applied Science and Technology course, students have opportunities to see the intersection of science and technology in every day life. Mr. Clancy explained,  “We went on a series of field trips to many science-related facilities in the area to learn about what scientists do at each one. Students talked to people on the job about what they do and how they got there.”

Students visit JelSert

“I think I’d like to be an engineer,” shared Junior Robert Dieter, “It’s cool to see engineers in their workplaces. Our field trips have been very diverse. On our first day, we went to a chocolate factory and that was definitely the tastiest. We also went to another food factory—JelSert—where they make popsicles and drink mixes. We’ve gone to Fermilab and Argonne, the National Laboratory in IL. It has been a really unique and eye opening experience. I don’t know how else I would be able to see ten different professional environments and interact with tons of engineers.


Through opportunities to travel, intern, and take practical, hands-on courses, students are discovering how they can make a difference for Christ in the world with their skills, knowledge, and talent.

As our students return from ten different Winterim trips, we look forward to sharing their stories with you next week.