Tree of Light’ ceremony rings in holidays

Christmas is a time of giving, receiving and traditions for everyone. We give to our loved ones and to strangers, we receive from friends and family and traditions are celebrated year after year. Students were part of an 85-year-old tradition of Sam Houston on Thursday evening.

The 85th Annual ‘Tree of Light’ ceremony was held in the mall area Dec. 1, where students, faculty and staff attended the tradition of seeing the magnificent tree light up before our very eyes.

Many things took place during the ceremony including guest speakers, a performance from the SHSU Choral Department and the Orange Pride dance team and song performance by the Walter P.Webb Historical Society.

The SHSU Choral Department filled the air with several Christmas favorites and even had the crowd join in with the song ‘Deck the Halls.’ The Orange Pride dance team performed a holiday routine for the crowd in their brightly colored scarves.

President James Gaertner spoke about the traditions at Sam Houston State University. “There is a value in tradition,” said Gaertner. “It provides a sense of comfort and a sense of pride in our university.”

‘The Tree of Light’ is only one tradition in addition to the many others this campus has to offer us as students.

Gaertner also extended some advice for students.

“I urge you to take the time to spend time with family and friends,” said Gaertner. “I urge you to study hard and do well on exams and go home and have a happy holiday and take care of yourself.”

Sometimes during the holidays, we tend to overlook the fact that other people need our help too. During the ceremony, organizations and students donated canned food items to the Good Shepherd Mission showing their generosity during this Christmas season and placed ornaments representing their organization on the tree.

David Smith, of the Good Shepherd Mission, spoke about how Christmas is the season of hope and extended his thanks for the donations.

“There has been a long tradition of Sam Houston helping out the Good Shepherd Mission,” said Smith.

Students ranging from freshmen to graduate students attended the event.

“This was my first year to come to this, [and] I thought it was a beautiful ceremony,” said freshman Chelsea Woodley.

“I think it was fun, and it was cool to see the traditions,” said sophomore Joseph Hastings.

“It was great as usual, and I hope it gets better every year,” said sophomore Romeal-Dorasay Johnson.

“It was good to see everyone come together for the holidays no matter what race or religion,” said Johnson.

Gaertner said this was his fifth year to be apart of the ‘Tree of Light’ ceremony and enjoys it year after year. All students should feel pride that they were apart of such a long lasting tradition here at Sam Houston. President Gaertner put it best when he said, “Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.”

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