Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

12/25/07


We all remember that wonderful anonymous letter written to a niece who was having real doubts about the reality of Santa Claus. As the letter so aptly pointed out, Santa Claus is that wonderful gift of giving, and the joy of seeing the rapture and wonder in the moment of true believing in the goodness of our fellow man.

Two weeks ago, the sixth annual Celebration of Lights was held at Cumberland County College. College employees teamed up with colleagues at area schools to assure that the last week of the year would have pleasant memories for a group of needy kids. At the celebration, the children sang carols, learned about the holidays and enjoyed special treats. And thanks to the generosity of CCC students, faculty and staff, all of the children received gifts from Santa. Each child was special. Every child was loved.

Last week, the college was honored to be in the presence of the true meaning of Christmas as expressed in the time honored letter to niece Virginia. Our “Santa” came in the form of a gentleman with rosy cheeks and a twinkle in his eye. Millville resident Paul Navone symbolizes the true meaning of this season: We get more by giving than receiving.

Mr. Navone gave the college $1 million to endow the college’s Healthcare Career Pathways Program, which calls for the college to work with partners in business and education to align high school and college curricula that prepare residents to obtain family sustaining jobs in this career field. CCC’s healthcare programs will be conducted in the cutting-edge Paul Navone Healthcare Education Center, which opened last week.

Mr. Navone gave our community the gift of life. His commitment to assure that we have a constant flow of trained healthcare professionals in this community is a gift that will keep on giving forever. He amassed his money through a life-time of working long hours and saving. He truly blessed us with his gift, and he expressed the true meaning of Christmas. Thank you, Paul Navone.

Like most of the community, the college takes a holiday this week to join family and friends as we experience the joy and wonder of this time of year. And it is a truly wonderful time of year. We exchange notes and cards with life-time friends and new friends we will know for a life-time. We wander back in our minds to our childhood, and re-experience the magic and fantasy of the lights, the smells, the colors, the anticipation and the joy of this special time of year.

This year, the college is doubly blessed, for we have remembered our childhood Santa, and we have experienced the presence of Santa today. Yes, Virginia and Cumberland County residents, there is a Santa Claus! Happy holidays from Cumberland County College, and we hope to see YOU in the New Year!