Holiday Traditions at Charter
By: Ted Fairfield
As Charter enters this cold and wintry season of gifts and giving, let’s take a look at some of the best Charter holiday traditions.
First off, we will start with a student favorite: Mr. Messinger’s Saturnalia celebration. According to Mr. Messinger, Saturnalia was the “Roman celebration of harvest, feasting, and gift giving.” He also said that this holiday remained so popular that some historians believe that “the day of Christmas was chosen to counteract the popularity of Saturnalia.”
In Charter’s Saturnalia, students revitalize the spirit of feasting and gift giving through a party and a gift exchange. Sophomore Anudeep Chennuri describes the event as “fun because it teaches about Latin traditions.” Senior Skylar Bartly finds the gift exchange “interesting [because] everyone wants the same gift and you end up with the one no one wants.”
Next, we will see the sweet side of Charter’s holiday traditions in Mrs. Fody’s forever-famous gingerbread house project. This tradition started when Mrs. Fody was teaching in New York and has remained as popular as ever. This project involves students bringing in candies, graham crackers, frosting, and any other sugary items to build gingerbread houses.
This tradition stuck with Mrs. Fody for so many years due to her desire for “kids to have fun and learn at the same time.” Senior Alan Balu confirms this sentiment, saying “I really enjoyed Mrs. Fody’s gingerbread houses.”
Following this candy filled adventure comes another tradition that exudes energy, power, and force. That’s right, it’s Newton Carols with Mr. Stover.
Sir Isaac Newton’s birthday happens to fall on Christmas Day, and in the spirit of the holidays, Mr. Stover spreads the holiday joy at Charter with his physics themed celebration. This 36 year long tradition (18 years at Charter) entails famous holiday themed songs with a twist. If students are standing in the hallways a couple days before break, they may hear the Newton Carollers singing “O Come All Ye Forceful” or “Dreaming of a Metric Christmas” or they may see others decorating the Newton bush with apples and springs.
Students may hear even more carolling this holiday season, but this time from the French Department. Mrs. Trinter and former teacher Madame Kennedy both spread the holiday spirit by singing Christmas Carols in French. Students make their way everywhere around the school (and sometimes to Cab, too!) to sing and wish holiday joy upon all.
Last, but certainly not least, we have Mrs. Benzing’s white elephant gift exchange. Similar to the gift exchange in Saturnalia, this gift exchange involves the following: students each bring in a gift, and each student has a chance to steal another person’s gift. This type of exchange would, of course, lead to some “strange and eclectic items.” Mrs. Benzing discussed the strangest items ever brought in: “One person brought in a spatula...from his kitchen. His mother was not too happy. Another person brought in four rolls of toilet paper. Another popular [gift] is four dollars in pennies.” Hopefully that toilet paper was unused!
Charter has a plethora of holiday traditions, each one better than the next. The joyful atmosphere of this school during the holiday months is palpable and ubiquitous, and traditions like these help kindle the fire that lights the hearts of students and teachers alike.