Happy Holidays from Cumberland County College

12/23/05


This week, the last of the year, is a time of quiet reflection for many of us. While we are in the midst of holiday celebrations, we also are aware that another year is coming to a close. It may have been the best of years, or the worst of years, and now we reflect on its meaning and look forward to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Two weeks ago, an event occurred at Cumberland County College that helped me put my year in perspective. A team of college employees teamed up with colleagues at the Broad Street School, the Dr. George Cunningham School and the R.D. Wood School to assure that the last week of the year would have pleasant memories for a group of needy kids.

This caring group of individuals led the college’s fourth annual Celebration of Lights where people learn about different holiday cultures and snack on holiday goodies representative of these cultures. During the event, we celebrated the many holidays of the season: Boxing Day, Christmas, Hanukkah, Incan Sun Holiday, Kwanzaa, Las Posadas, Native American Peace Holiday, Three Kings Day and Winter Solstice. Each holiday’s special traditions and fine foods were displayed and sampled.

The children from our partner schools sang carols, learned about the holidays and enjoyed the special treats. But, of course, the highlight of the day for the children was the visit by Santa Claus. And what a visit it was.

Thanks to the generosity of CCC students, faculty and staff, all of the 30 plus children received four gifts from Santa. Every student was given a new winter coat, a suit of clothes and two toys. The children were transfixed as Santa individually called their names and greeted them, one-by-one, with a “Ho, ho, ho,” as he gave them their gifts. I’m sure that each child will remember this precious moment with Mr. Claus for years to come.

The eyes of the children said it all. To these students, many who are homeless or in shelters, the gifts meant warmth, esteem, respect and joy. Each child was special. Every child was loved. It was truly hard to leave the event without a tear to brush away.

And that’s what I’ll take into 2006. A special memory of these children who represent our future. Children who remind me of myself some 45 years ago. Yes, this is a magic time of year. A time of love, close feelings and the hope for the future. In these youngsters’ smiles and eyes, the future looked very bright to me.

Happy Holidays!