January 6, 2023
On the morning of Friday, December 16—the last day of school before winter break—seniors gathered in the gymnasium to decorate for the Winter Celebration. With a holiday playlist streaming through the gym speakers, students worked together to hang garlands throughout the room, set out glow sticks for Middle School students, hang snowflakes from the walls, set up an inflatable snowman with fake snow, and more.
After the morning’s classes and activities were completed, students in Classes XII through VIII, made their way to the 4th floor to meet their Lower School buddies, who they would escort all the way up to the gym for the celebration.
Classes V–VII, professional community members, and alumnae found their seats in the bleachers and around the gym, awaiting the special spiral about to take place.
Hand in hand, seniors began filing in, holding the hand of their Kindergarten buddy to the tune of “Believe" from The Polar Express. Together, they walked around the gym, still holding hands until their line created a giant circle. Class XI walked in behind them with Class I, Class X walked in with Class II, Class IX followed with Class III, and finally Class VIII walked in with Class IV. The gym was filled with smiles, laughter, and nostalgia, as the spiral of students grew larger and larger.
Finally, with everyone seated, the entire room erupted in song, singing “Let it Snow” followed by the classic “What a Wonderful World,” and “Winter Wonderland.” Ms. Alexander then led all students in a new song:
Round and round we go
We hold each others hands
And weave our lives in a circle
Our hearts are strong, the dance goes on
Senior readers then took their place for the traditional reading of a story selected by the Kindergarten class. Line by line the seniors read A Sled for Gabo, by Emma Otheguy, who had just recently visited Nightingale earlier in the month.
Students, ProCom, and alumnae came together once again in song, singing “Oh Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah.” Next, students sang “12 Days of Christmas,” and each class stood up and danced to the lyrics they accompanied, all the while getting louder and louder with each chorus.
Seniors then stood up in the center of the room and sang their original senior song, matching each set of lyrics to familiar tunes of songs sung throughout the season.
It was now time for the moment everyone had been waiting for: Mr. Burke’s poem.
Now vacation is imminent, but before we adjourn,
There’s a short little sentence that I think you’ve earned.
The sentence, you know it, it’s the last thing you hear,
before we depart at the end of each year.
After three years on Zoom, FINALLY, we’re all together in one big room
We’re finally together and all having fun
Let’s take this last sentence, and say it as one.
Our work is now over, so if you all would assist,
Please join me in saying: School is dismissed!
“After a two-year hiatus, it was so great to experience an all-school Winter Celebration,” Annique B.A. ’23 reflected. “The energy of the Schoolhouse has been revitalized, and Winter Celebration felt like the culmination of the work our community has done to bring back a feeling of togetherness to Nightingale. It’s been important to my class and me to re-establish connections between grades, and I feel the Nightingale community was truly connected that day. Seeing the gym full of decorations, singing, and joy was a perfect start to winter break!”