Baubles, Knickknacks, and Tinsel

Eventually, these festive sites around the school became convenient photo ops, places to hang out, and spheres of holiday cheer.

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Shiny tinsel was draped over the boughs of a tree in the Sophomore Bar, Christmas carols emanated from underneath the Senior Atrium’s Christmas tree, and a jolly snowman greeted students on their way into the building. During the month of December, various decorations began to appear throughout Stuy. Eventually, these festive sites around the school became convenient photo ops, places to hang out, and spheres of holiday cheer.

The Christmas tree at the Sophomore Bar was the first decor to appear. Around the end of November, sophomore Jonathan Metzler began asking for donations at the Sophomore Bar. He and fellow sophomore William Li campaigned the donation for a Christmas tree for all sophomores to enjoy and elaborately decorate together. The Christmas tree was finally brought and set up on December 9 with the help of others at the Sophomore Bar. “It was very hard getting it through the door, and, yes, people were giving us some weird looks, but other than that, it was easy,” sophomore William Li said.

Throughout the days leading up to winter break, ornaments, tinsel, and lights began to appear on the tree. “There was one afternoon where we went to the Writing Center and stole all their paper clips, then we put all the ornaments on the tree using their paper clips,” Metzler recalled.

Overall, the decoration process was collaborative; sophomores spent their free periods adorning the tree with handmade ornaments. “I know that during third, seventh, and ninth periods of that day [of the tree’s arrival], a lot of people were contributing decorations. Many brought decorations from their own homes,” Li said.

About a week after the sophomores’ tree went up, an eight-foot inflatable snowman wrapped in LED light greeted students at the Senior Bar by the second floor entrance. Arranged by members of the Senior Caucus and Coordinator of Student Affairs Matt Polazzo, the snowman was one of the first projects this team accomplished. “I was very worried that the snowman was not going to survive the holiday season, but it was a Christmas miracle that Frosty survived,” Polazzo commented.

Almost simultaneously, a Christmas tree appeared in the Senior Atrium. “We first saw the sophomores put up their tree. We were originally planning on having a tree, but once we saw it, we were like, ‘We have to top this,” Senior Caucus co-president Erica Li said. “The Senior Caucus has always decorated the atrium during winter holidays, so [...] we talked logistics with Mr. Polazzo, then went out to buy a bigger tree.”

Polazzo took on the task of getting a tree, supposedly bigger and better than that of the sophomores. “I went to get the tree with the Senior Caucus at the tree sales guy across from McDonalds. [...] I had [Student Union President Ryan Lee] and [Senior Caucus co-president Andrey Sokolov] carry the tree,” Polazzo said.

The tree in the senior atrium was decorated with customized ornaments, and a speaker playing holiday music was placed underneath it. “We had photo ornaments, where seniors got to send in photos, and then we hung them up on the tree, so as you walked by you got to see your friends,” Erica Li said.

In addition, the Student Union and administration held a schoolwide door decorating contest for the students to express their festive spirit around Stuy. Representing her club, sophomore Fiona ‘Eve’ Lin participated in the contest, and found the experience to be a highlight of her experience at Stuyvesant. “It was really fun. We roped in a ton of people, some of whom weren’t even in the club, just a group effort of all my friends drawing the day before it was to be judged,” Lin said.

When asked to comment about how their projects brought the community together, most of the organizers mentioned that the collaborative task of decorating increased the festive mood. “We wanted to make sure that we were making fun memories for our class and leaving resources for future classes to create [more memories],” Sokolov commented.

Though short-lived, these decorations were met with enormous positivity and support from students because they represent the community within Stuyvesant. Sophomore Zarrin Ahmed regularly spends her free periods at the Sophomore Bar and was usually seen contributing to the tree. “I was happy that all the students came together to haul the tree in, and picking out the ornaments was nice. The addition of the tree not only provided foliage, but an overall sense of livelihood to the bar,” Ahmed said.

The festivities at Stuyvesant were genuine displays of our community coming together to create an ambiance that everyone could enjoy. The heartwarming atmosphere ensured all Stuyvesant students get to enjoy a tidbit of winter cheer.