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St. John’s Community Comes Together for 27th Annual Winter Carnival

Thursday, December 7, 2017

St. John’s 27th Annual Winter Carnival, a week-long celebration of the season, concluded on December 6 as students, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents gathered on the Queens campus for the University’s Christmas tree lighting and Grucci fireworks display.

The “New York Christmas Spectacular,” held on the Great Lawn from 8 to 9 p.m., featured performances by the Stormettes kick line team and the Voices of Victory Gospel Choir, led by Nigel W. Gretton, Director of Performing Arts. About 500 alumni and guests attended an outdoor reception, where they watched the show, enjoyed hot chocolate, and took “selfies” with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Frank Obermeyer ’18C, President of Student Government, Inc., and Jessica M. DiBugno ’18TCB, Chair of the Student Affairs Committee, welcomed the spectators. Rev. Bernard M. Tracey, C.M., Executive Vice President for Mission, led the gathering in prayer. The 10-minute fireworks display followed, with an illuminated red-and-white sign that said “We are St. John’s. The Tradition Continues.”

Before the event, alumni, students, and administrators attended the Winter Carnival Mass in St. Thomas More Church. Rev. John J. Holliday, C.M., University Chaplain, was the Principal Celebrant. Students in St. John’s Greek life organizations received a special blessing for their work embracing St. John’s Catholic and Vincentian Mission.

Freshman Zach Melo ’21CPS, a Criminal Justice major in the College of Professional Studies, watched the fireworks with his friends. “This was better than I expected,” he said. “Everyone’s wrapped up in finals, so it’s a chance to relax and enjoy.”

“This is our third year doing this,” said Carl Brosnan, of Floral Park, NY, who came with his wife, Shari. “It makes for a very nice evening,” she added. Their son, Bailey, is a junior Marketing major in The Peter J. Tobin College of Business.

The event was the tenth and final activity of this year’s Winter Carnival. The week began on November 28, with ice skating in Manhattan’s Bryant Park. Other activities included a “Merry Movie Marathon” of popular Christmas films; a visit to Rockefeller Center’s annual Christmas show; and a “Central Park Christmas” including carolers, food, and horse-and-carriage rides around the Great Lawn.

The Staten Island campus held its Winter Carnival on November 30, with a teddy-bear stuffing and other crafts, horse-and-carriage rides, and a Christmas tree lighting on the Great Lawn. “For a few hours, students can forget the stress of final exams and papers and focus on the joys of the season,” said Audra Howley, Associate Director for Student Life.

“This tradition means so much to the St. John’s community—as it has for 27 years,” observed Jodi M. Cox ’98C, ’02G, Director of Campus Life. “It is a way for us to come together in the holiday spirit, and to show that college can be fun, too—even at finals time.”