Everyone has their own unique meaning for the celebration of Christmas.
For some people Christmas is all about spending time with family. Others find the most joy in waking up to a living room full of presents on the 25th of December.
At Southern Okanagan Secondary School, the holidays are used as an opportunity to bring joy and life into the student body. During the last couple of weeks approaching Christmas break, teachers have been working together with “Link Crew” (a student leadership class) to get students involved in holiday themed events.
These acts of celebration have proved to be an amazing way to get students involved with one another on a different level than just school work.
One of the many ways in which Southern Okanagan Secondary School celebrated Christmas this year was through Spirit Week.
Spirit Week started off with a festive pajama day where many students wore their pajamas and slippers to their classes to show school spirit. This was preceded by “ugly sweater” day on Tuesday, hat day on Wednesday, red and green day on Thursday and, formal day on Friday.
“It (Spirit Week) is something that brings all of us together around a common interest,” says Mrs. R. Goncalves. The students’ creative participation in these days definitely made Spirit Week at Southern Okanagan Secondary School a colourful one.
But, it wasn’t only the holiday apparel that was creating an atmosphere of Christmas spirit at the high school this week.
The entranceway of the new building is now hallmarked by a real, ceiling-high evergreen tree and, even the library is now sporting a creative Christmas tree made of stacked books.
Many of the students are also determined to give back and make a difference this Christmas. During lunch hours, the cafeteria has been occupied by multiple student fundraisers, all with the same goal of trying to make someone else’s Christmas a little brighter.
The school leadership group has been hosting a school-wide competition to see which grade will donate the most change to their fundraiser. Their goal is to earn $150 and provide three families in Africa with a live goat this Christmas.
The students are also gathering non-perishable food items to give to the less fortunate this holiday season.
All these opportunities to get involved “gives kids a feeling of purpose, a reason for wanting to come to school and makes them feel good about Christmas,” stated Mrs. M.E. Hesslegrave, a learning assistant at the school. “I think it makes kids want to come to school and makes it become a positive place to be.”
With an enormous amount of holiday cheer already behind them, the students capped off the week with an hour-long Christmas assembly.
During this assembly Mrs. Alison Podmorow’s senior drama class performed a Christmas short they titled “Christmas Chaos.”
Some brave students also performed individually in front of the school as part of a small talent show. Photography teacher Mrs. Goncalves agreed that “the general feeling of the holidays has been pretty impressive this year.”
Oliver high school students will definitely be entering winter break full of the Christmas spirit and ready for the holidays!
(Sienna Bontorin is a Grade 11 student at Southern Okanagan Secondary School.)