Five students share their stories of how they’ll spend their holiday

Photo courtesy of MCT Campus.

Courtney Kerrigan

From east to west

Graduate student Catherine Zheng left Tuesday for a winter break to be spent sprawled across the country.

She’ll spend the first two weeks in Raleigh, N.C., with her best friend from China. She’s been married since Zheng arrived in the States in August, and insisted Zheng visit during break.

After that, it’s off to gambling and sightseeing in Sin City. She’ll stay with another friend from China for another two weeks before returning Jan. 7 — just in time for spring semester.

“It’s a really fascinating city because my friend says she doesn’t have to go grocery shopping,” Zheng said. “She just goes to the casino to buy groceries. And she’s always talking about the hotels and food there.”

She also plans to visit the Grand Canyon and go club-hopping.

Zheng said “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” was what interested her in traveling to the city because she translates the show and puts Chinese subtitles for the download.

“I volunteer because a lot of Chinese people are big fans and I love criminal TV shows,” she said.

China doesn’t celebrate Christmas, but they know there are celebrations and can choose to celebrate the holiday if they want, Zheng said.

“We have a Spring Festival, and this year is the Chinese Luna New Year,” she said. “It’s like the real new year in China. It’s seven days, and on the last day we have fireworks.”

Winter wedding

College graduation signifies adulthood for students, whether they want it or not. For senior fine arts major Rebecca Oberdove, what follows her graduation in December means more.

On Dec. 23, Oberdove will walk down the aisle and marry her military man, Craig.

“He’s stationed in Georgia, and I don’t think he will arrive until the night before the wedding,” she said. “He won’t even be in for the rehearsal dinner.”

The two met through a friend two years ago.

Oberdove said the wedding is at Roses Run Country Club in Munroe Falls with accents of eggplant and silver for her colors.

The couple planned their wedding around a holiday in hopes that her fiancé would get four days off from active duty.

Following the wedding, Oberdove said a honeymoon won’t be possible, but she’ll move down to Georgia. She is hopeful to find a job in a gallery doing curatorial work.


Melissa Schwachenwald, senior fine arts major, hopes to escape to the west for some warmer weather.

“I’m trying to go to Arizona because my mom lives out there in Glendale,” she said. “When I’m out west, I like to climb mountains. And I want to see what downtown Phoenix is like because I haven’t been there since I was 18.”

Schwachenwald is originally from Arizona and lived there for eight years before her dad’s side of the family decided to move to Cleveland.

She started climbing at a young age, but rarely climbs with equipment.

“I want to go back to South Mountain, but it’s not real rock climbing,” she said. “You can drive your car up to the top. But when I was little there were pavilions where Indian women sold turquoise jewelry.”

During winter break, Schwachenwald said she normally just goes back to Cleveland and tries to see old friends from her hometown.

“I try to go skiing, too,” she added. “It only happens once or twice, though. I started skiing in eighth grade, and I usually go to Boston Mills and

Brandywine, but I really want to go back to Holiday Valley in New York.”


While most students will take full advantage of doing nothing during winter break, Luther Kibble III, senior advertising major, will be starting a business.

“I have eight business concepts that I need to start executing one by one,” he said. “With this campaign, as I call it, I just want to impress myself because if I impress me, I’ll impress you.”

Although Kibble said he can’t go into detail because “anyone with some sense wouldn’t give their idea away,” his business is a social cause promoting the need for domestically made products. 

“People need to be more aware of the importance of supplying small businesses and companies that manufacture products in the country,” Kibble explained. “People can be very negligent in their purchasing habits.”

His first business idea was to start an eyewear company making high-end frames, prescription eyewear and sunglasses. He’s trying to avoid taking out more loans, though, and starting a company is expensive. 

Aside from Kibble’s entrepreneurial goals, he’ll spend the holiday with his family — more specifically, his father.

“I have a really warm family,” he said. “I’ll just be happy to be with my father. He’s always been a really strong person.”

Outback for break

Andy Minno, senior political science major, is spending his winter break prepping for a graduation gift from his aunt — a three-week trip to Australia and New Zealand.

“She promised since I was in elementary school that when I graduated college, I could go where I wanted to go,” he said. “She planned the entire thing, but we discussed specifically what we did and didn’t want to do.”

They’ll start out in Sydney, Australia, for a few days and then travel to the Great Barrier Reef. The rest of the trip will be spent in New Zealand.

Minno said they plan to rent a car and travel “for the most part, geographically, the entire country.”

Plans include visiting Fox Glacier, zip lining, hang gliding, snorkeling and luging, among other things. One stop will be in Hobbiton, where “Lord of the Rings” hobbits were based in the movie.

Minno said he was a fan of the trilogy in elementary school, and he wanted to do something “outdoorsy.”

“I had interest as a kid, the aesthetics and just the idea that they had so many different kinds of land,” Minno said, explaining why he chose New Zealand. “I could be walking on a glacier one day and playing golf another.”

Contact Courtney Kerrigan at [email protected].