Christmas season comes to campus as community heads into finals

The NDB community is celebrating the Christmas season in several ways as it heads into the end of the semester, particularly final exams.

It started just before Thanksgiving Break with Advent prayer services lead by the spiritual life department.  Students and teachers reflected on the four week long period leading up to Christmas through prayers and readings. The image of the Advent wreath and its four candles helped them get into the mindset of preparing and waiting for the birth of Jesus.

“The Advent season can be a time of much stress with finals, college applications and the hustle and bustle of shopping for the holidays,” Spiritual Life Department Chair Ynez Manalo said.  “We wanted to take time for students to reflect on the four themes of Advent: hope, peace, joy and love, and how they can live out these themes more fully and be present to one another during the weeks before Christmas.”

Last Monday, students, faculty, and staff returned to campus from the five day long break and found the halls starting to look a lot like Christmas with poinsettias, stockings, and wreaths already up.  Senior Venetia Prontzos, her mother, Maria Prontzos, and Director of Communications and Marketing George Retelas organized the decorations.

“I wanted these kids to go home for Thanksgiving, and then boom!  When they got back from Thanksgiving, it’s Christmas.  Let’s get in the spirit,” said Maria Prontzos.

Homerooms began planning for ASB’s annual door decorating contest throughout the week.  Prizes will be given to homerooms for various categories, including cutest, most creative, and best overall.

Last Wednesday, students from the French classes and club celebrated their annual Noel party.  Students brought homemade traditional desserts, including a “buch de Noel” or yule log.  Lead by French teachers Patricia Haddad and Marlene Kissell, they did caroling and making arts and crafts, including cloved oranges and gingerbread houses.  They also did a raffle, giving items such as cookies, goldfish and stationary.

“I made a dessert for homework, and it was really fun because it is an annual French class tradition where we learn about the culture,” senior Jade Costello said.

Starting on Monday, ASB hosts its second annual Christmas spirit week.  Over the course of five days, the themes include Hanukkah Colors Day, Christmas Movie Character Day, Wacky Sweather Day, Candy Cane Day, and Festive Free Dress.  Students get a break from wearing their uniforms and dressing up for the holidays.

The week is not meant for classes to earn spirit points, but for students to lessen their stress in the days right before final exams.

“Studying for their tests is obviously a priority, but a little Christmas cheer never hurt anybody,” one ASB officer said.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the visual and performing arts department hosts two events.  The school chorus and music ensemble hosts its annual Christmas concert at Filoli Historic House and Garden in Woodside at 7 p.m., while dance hosts its annual holiday showcase in the Moore Auditorium during collaboration.

On Friday, both student council and faculty and staff will have their respective Christmas parties before final exams begin next Tuesday.