by Laura Whitaker
The staff at Smith Elementary and Heritage schools kicked off the holiday season with a 12 Days Before Break celebration. Events began Dec. 1 with a doughnut treat for the district provided by the Stockbridge Area Education Foundation.
The event continued each day in December with a different treat or a fun spirit day. Activities included wearing Christmas sweaters, sliding into slippers for a day and dressing in comfortable clothes. The celebration ended with PJ day. For many of the days, students also became involved and the atmosphere across both schools was uplifting with an air of fun.
Thanks to other donations by the Panther Cubs PTO, Adiska Family Dental, Taylor Maples LLC, as well as individual donations, some days included gifts for all staff members in both buildings. They received gift cards, lunch, breakfast and ice cream. The celebration ended with a breakfast together and an ornament exchange. Smith staff members also received new shirts at their staff breakfast.
The response from staff was overwhelmingly positive across the buildings. At Heritage, Nicky Borowy and Lisa Bolton worked together to plan for their staff. Both said they had a lot of fun with the event.
“We had a great time planning fun things for the staff,” Bolton said, “and it was great to see the smiles and reactions when we came to classrooms.”
Borowy agreed. “It was so wonderful to see the excitement from the staff when there was something to look forward to every day,” she said.
At Smith, Laura Whitaker and Amy Taylor planned out their building’s events.
“This school year has brought many challenges to our staff and students and we wanted a way to bring some happiness and fun to everyone,” said Whitaker “The idea blossomed and spread and we had so many people who wanted to help contribute to our ideas.
After a stressful year with limited staffing and new COVID protocols, the festival spirit was a welcome change.
“We had such positive feedback and people who said it made coming into school extra special. The goal was for both staff and students to leave for break with a happy feeling,” she said.
Following the success of 12 Days Before Break, organizers are looking ahead for other opportunities to offer similar events for staff and students.