Carol of the school bells

December 19, 2017

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and baby, it sure is getting cold outside! With holiday cheer in the air and winter break just barely within reach, it’s as clear as a fresh batch of fallen snow that everyone around campus is happily counting down to the most wonderful time of the year– teachers included! Just like us, the teachers are eagerly counting down to that last hours until the end of the semester and carry out enjoy their grand plans for the holiday season. Get that ugly sweater out of the closet, finish mixing that hot cocoa, and find your seat by the fireplace because this year, we’re going to spend a little bit of our holiday with our beloved teachers and share some of their Christmas cheer!


What are your plans for winter break? Are you looking forward to anything in particular this holiday season?


“My cousins come down from Las Vegas and we cook, shop and eat the entire time.  I love it when they come down. They’re like my sisters that I never had.” -Kristi Studts, High School English Teacher


“For Winter Break, I like to take that time to catch up on all of my shows and clean. I know, I’m one of those people. I usually go up to Flagstaff for the day and visit my friends up there, and see the snow.  Every Christmas my family gets together and we can have about 90 people at my moms house for Christmas Brunch; we have been celebrating Christmas Brunch since before I was born.” -Hailey Riveroll, Middle and High School English Teacher

Katrina Ortiz
Mrs. Riveroll loves celebrating the holidays, especially in ugly cat sweaters.


“Our family will be travelling a lot over break. We have family all over the country and we try to see everyone as much as possible throughout the year. First we will head to San Francisco for Christmas, then to North Carolina around New Year’s.” -Blair Valone, Middle and High School History Teacher


“This winter break I will be hanging out with my wife. Normally we would fly home to Michigan to be with our families, but this year we aren’t able to go. We will probably do some hiking, some school work, and maybe get out of town for a couple of days on a short trip.” -Jacob Culver, High School Math Teacher


“I’m actually really looking forward to spending time with my husband and my kids!  My husband gets the last week of 2017 off, so that will be nice! We will get to spend a lot of time together as a family, which is great because we have been so busy lately, I’ve been missing spending time all 4 of us together.  This is Frida’s first Christmas, so I feel like it’s going to be fun doing all of the “firsts” for her!” -Sarah Victoria, High School Spanish Teacher


How do you celebrate the holiday season? Do you have a favorite tradition?


“We do the whole tree, lights, and decorate everywhere. We love to cook and experiment with new recipes. I love being with family and friends this time of year. We do hot chocolate and sit outside on Christmas Eve after spending the day at the zoo.” -Kristi Studts, High School English Teacher

“On Christmas, my mom’s side of the family all gets together and we have brunch and exchange gifts. We have a ton of food, as sometimes we can get about 90 people there at one time.  Everyone makes some sort of food, and we eat way too much.  Last year, my grandma made 30 lbs of hash browns just to make sure we didn’t run out.  I usually am the one that makes all of the pies, so I spend three days before Christmas making them.  Last year, I made 15 so I’m going for a perfect 20 this year. Like I said, crazy.” -Hailey Riveroll, Middle and High School English Teacher


“Because I have a 3 year old, we really try to hype up the Santa excitement in our house. This year we went to the Polar Express, which was a huge hit. We also like to drive and look at lights, bake sweets together, and decorate our house.  One special tradition we have is wrapping a holiday book of some sort to open on Christmas Eve and read together before bed. We also don’t have a chimney so we leave a special ‘Santa Key’ outside so he can get in the house and leave presents.” -Blair Valone, Middle and High School History Teacher


“For the holidays my family would always host my mom’s side of the family at our house on Christmas Eve. We would have a big dinner with my aunt and uncle, my two cousins, and my grandparents. After dinner we would start a fire in the fireplace and open presents; my cousins and my brothers would spend all night playing with our new toys and video games. Then we would all get dressed to the nines and go to Midnight Mass at our local church. The next day, Christmas, we would wake up and have a family Christmas; just my parents and brothers. We would start another fire in the fireplace and then open the gifts that we got for each other. My favorite holiday tradition would have to be spending time with my extended family. It’s weird though; we got together with our extended family all of the time, but something about Christmas Eve night, the fire, Christmas Music, and the snow on the ground just made it special.” -Jacob Culver, High School Math Teacher

Katrina Ortiz
Mr. Culver’s favorite Christmas memory is from when he and his brothers received a puppy!


“We don’t do anything spectacular for Christmas, just open presents, and have a dinner.  Jeffrey has an advent calendar, which I enjoy doing with him because we get to read together and eat chocolate.  Also, we celebrate Hanukkah, which I love because we don’t do presents, we just light the menorah and play dreidel, so I like that the focus is more on spending time together rather than getting stuff.” -Sarah Victoria, High School Spanish Teacher

What is your favorite holiday memory?

“When I was a kid, I always used to get in trouble for trying to sneak under the tree to check out the presents. Evidently I came by it naturally, because one year we were getting ready for dinner and we heard this scream from the room where the tree was. My mom had been snooping and while she was doing it, the tree fell on top of her.” -Kristi Studts, High School English Teacher

Katrina Ortiz
Mrs. Studts remembers when her mom was unsuccessful at being sneaky, and the whole Christmas tree fell on top of her.

“My favorite memory of Christmas was the year  got my dog.  Earlier that year, my dad passed away from a heart attack and he one my favorite person in the world.  He was the only person, besides my mom, who could make me laugh, told me I wasn’t weird for liking things other kids didn’t like, and protected me.  After he died, I felt that my protection and person I cared for the most had vanished and I would never be able to find someone like that again.  My mom could see that part of me was gone, and knew that she needed to find something to do to cheer me up, and bring back the old cheerful and happy me.  So, Christmas Eve night we went out to dinner with all of my siblings and I was eager to go home and go to bed (I was clearly crazy from a young age), and my mom told my sister and I that we were allowed to open one gift.  I thought that was weird because we never do that.  So my mom sat my sister and I down on the couch, and said “I know the perfect present for you to open, let me go grab it.”  When she put the present on my lap, (my sister had her own box too), I freaked out when I opened the lid and saw a puppy sleeping inside.  Ever since I got him, I felt happier and like my old self.  He was the thing that made me realize who I was, and how I could live my life without my dad.” -Hailey Riveroll, Middle and High School English Teacher


“My favorite holiday memories come from the time when I was very young. The years I got to spend every holiday with my grandparents are very dear to my heart because my grandfather was a very important person to me and unfortunately he passed away when I was in middle school.” -Blair Valone, Middle and High School History Teacher

Katrina Ortiz
Mrs. Valone does a lot of traveling over winter break to make sure she sees all of her family.

“My favorite holiday memory happened Christmas morning 2001. I was 12 years old and my brothers were 9 and 7. We came downstairs and started opening presents like we always do. My dad was videotaping it all on a digital camera like he always did. We get done opening our gifts and we start to clean up the living room when my mom says that she has one more gift. She says it’s for the whole family and she wants my brothers and me to open it together. My dad was clearly out of the loop and had no idea that there was another gift, so he just kept on videotaping. My mom goes to the basement and brings back a box. The box had a bow on top, but it wasn’t wrapped which was odd. My brothers and I are sitting on the couch, my youngest brother in the middle, and my mom sets the box in his lap and says to open it. The box wasn’t sealed shut so Mike just opened the flaps and a little golden retriever puppy popped his head out. My mom is usually pretty bad about keeping secrets, but this time we were all shocked. We had no idea that we were getting a puppy.” -Jacob Culver, High School Math Teacher


“When I think about memories of the holiday season, the first thing that comes to mind is Christmas lights- I absolutely love Christmas lights!  I love driving around to look at them or just walking down the street to see them. Even if I’m just looking at them on the Christmas tree, they make me happy!” -Sarah Victoria, High School Spanish Teacher

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