Holiday music set the mood and fireworks filled the night sky as St. John’s University celebrated the climax of its 31st annual Winter Carnival on Monday, December 5.
Hundreds of students, faculty, alumni, administrators, and staff filled the Great Lawn for the Student Government, Inc.-sponsored lighting of the University’s Christmas tree, which sits in front of St. Augustine Hall. The lighting was followed by a Fireworks by Grucci show that ushered in the University’s celebration of the season.
“After a long semester, we are thrilled to have everyone here to share in this celebration,” said Ethan Burrell, President, Student Government, Inc. “We invite everyone to share in the joy of the season.”
University President Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P., began the evening with a prayer, after which the tree lighting countdown began. The crowd was then treated to a colorful fireworks pageant that produced the anticipated “oohs and aahs.” Santa and Mrs. Claus even made an appearance.
The tree lighting capped a week of Winter Carnival events that included a jazz performance, a Santa’s workshop, a nonalcoholic paint-and-sip event, and more.
“Winter Carnival is a wonderful tradition that brings friends together to enjoy the bonds they have created,” said Kathryn T. Hutchinson, Ph.D., Vice President, Division of Student Affairs. “These bonds will last a lifetime and forever keep them connected to our wonderful University.”
Those who braved the chilly evening air enjoyed a comforting cup of hot cocoa. But most students agreed the night was made more special by the opportunity to bond with their friends one last time before they disperse for the holidays at the close of final exams.
“It’s a special moment for those people like myself who come from out of state,” said Ezinne Opara, a first-year student from Jefferson City, MO. “It’s a way of sharing the holidays with other members of the St. John’s community.”
“Finals are coming up and everyone is pretty stressed,” added Erin Gilvary, a first-year student from East Quogue, NY. “It’s a nice opportunity to get together with friends and enjoy some holiday fun.”