The Year of X-Term X

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Photograph by T Strouse

The brainchild of Glen Turf, it’s X years for Country Day’s unique program now called X-Term.

Story update: X-Term X cancelled due to precautionary measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ten years ago, an administrator told Glen Turf, Upper School Director turned Director of Global Studies & International Programs, that he didn’t think Minimester (as it was called then) was going to work. But if it did, he said, Turf would be the one to pull it off. This year, Miami Country Day is celebrating ten years of Minimester-turned-X-term. 

The program has always offered a week of exploration and has been an opportunity for students to explore passions and interests they would not typically be able to pursue within the school curriculum. A lot has changed since the program’s nascent years, though. The sign-up process, the number of options and types of experiences are just a few. 

Moving from January to March, abutting Spring Break, has given rise to some controversy, including the fact that it takes away from traditional class time. But one thing is for certain: this annual week of trying new things has progressively become more deeply ingrained within the culture of MCDS. So much so that Turf feels that if they were to announce that the X-term would not occur, it would be a big change. 

Many students are used to the buzz that surfaces during registration. Sending out texts asking what X-terms your friends are doing, asking an older sibling which they recommend, hurrying to turn the form in during the allotted registration period. These have come to be a right of passage among students. 

“X-term allows students to experience out-of-the-box, exciting activities that they normally wouldn’t get the chance to participate in,” Senior Samantha Long said. “Every year, my X-term has taught me something new. Freshman year, I saw various musicals, operas and plays. I learned the importance of hearing other people’s stories and understanding different cultures.”

Incorporating travel, both global and domestic, over the past ten years has been a big contributing factor to the school’s determination to provide students with a comprehensive education. The school is even looking to get certified as a “global curriculum school” to cement this status, according to Mr. Turf.

This year, students and faculty will take part in a service project on Monday, March 16, with their assigned groups. X-term 2020 will then take place from March 17 through March 18.