Students and staff find ways to enjoy holiday events

Evergreen tree in a park

Due to COVID-19, the Vernon Hills annual tree lighting has been canceled. (Photo courtesy of Nicolle Bek.)

Due to the severity of COVID-19, some families aren’t able to meet for the holidays, and certain in-person events have been either canceled or transitioned into virtual versions of themselves. Because of these limitations, students and staff alike are looking for more unique ways to spend the holidays. 

Val Burda (12) is one student who can’t see her family this year. 

“We’re planning just to stay home because we have my grandma with us,” Burda said. “[I] don’t really spend as much time with my family.”

Some holiday events will also be canceled, such as the Vernon Hills Christmas tree lighting. Burda explained her disappointment about the cancellation of these events.

“Since I was a little kid, I grew up watching the tree lighting. And that, unfortunately, isn’t happening this year,” Burda said. 

She hopes that Vernon Hills can figure something out in order to bring a little bit of holiday spirit during these tough times. 

“I don’t know if they’ve even thought about this, but maybe [they] can have different time slots that you can come to see the tree,” Burda said.

In lieu of such cancellations, Dr. Deborah Beagle, head of student activities, hopes to keep as many activities and events running as possible. Dr. Beagle has already successfully planned a virtual homecoming and lip-sync and is now thinking of ideas for the upcoming weeks.

“We’re definitely exploring those ideas. We’re hoping to kind of keep going with these weeks, and kicking things off each day,” Dr. Beagle said. “We’re just kind of brainstorming, and I know that there are a couple of things we talked about, like the virtual bingo.”

Although the holiday season will differ from the past years, some students are still trying to stay positive and find things to look forward to. Ashley Murphy (12) is looking forward to spending time with her family, especially her sister.

“We always go on adventures in the city … even though we can’t go to the Christmas market, we’ll probably find somewhere else to go,” Murphy said. 

While the VHHS students and staff do not know exactly how the holiday season will end up working out, they are trying their best to be positive in hopes of a great holiday season. 

“I think the one [good] thing that could come out of this pandemic is that it has forced schools and activities to think outside of the box,” Dr. Beagle said.