Tag Archives: Christmas
SFA holds a lighting holiday extravaganza every year on campus. This year was the same as they lit up the whole college with Christmas lights. The gigantic tree that stands in front of the business building is a major attraction for students as its stands out above and beyond anything else.
“I love the lights and the creativity they bring,” says said SFA student Kayla Borens.
The lights, the lights, the lights, if you haven’t noticed SFA has put up Christmas lights all around the college campus. They glow all around campus from the Baker Patillo Student Center, The Business building, The Presidents house, Hall 16 and Steen hall. There are even lights on the huge trees around SFA. The lights are put up by the physical plant workers who plan putting the lights up the week before Thanksgiving. They do this to make sure every light is put up correctly so that there won’t be any problems later down the line when they are finally set in place.
The lights are censored for each building, for this reason each pair of lights are scheduled to turn on and off at a scheduled time everyday. The physical plant splits their workers in groups adding different Christmas lights to each building everyday.
“It’s harder to put up the lights than it is to take them down I am the happiest when its finally over,” said Electronic foreperson Cary Shinn.
The Christmas lights are scheduled to come on at approximately 6:15 p.m. and they usually cut off about 1 a.m. There are over 10,000 lights combined, spread out throughout the SFA campus. The lights are scheduled to turn on and turn off at a certain time because they don’t want any to burn out easily too soon, as well as save the school the money that would be lost if the lights were turned off manually.
“It’s all about being smart about the situation and being responsible, we have a lot of lights on different buildings and one thing we don’t want is for something to go wrong like a light burning out that could potentially cause something tragic,” said Shinn.
The tradition of putting the SFA lights all around campus started in the early 1800’s and became a consistent tradition every year for SFA after that. The Christmas lights range in colors from red, green, yellow, and blue.
“It’s amazing to me how they get the lights on each building and how each building is created with different lights,” said Joy Edwards SFA student.
The lights are put up on Nov. 17 and last all the way through December 31st once the lights are taken down they plan for next year and how they want to present the Christmas lights to students for the following year.
“It’s a process and it takes time to put up the lights but I’ve always said it’s better to take your time and get it done right than rush and have something go wrong and I am all about safety when is come to these lights,” said Shinn.
The physical plant also looks to add different buildings each year. This year they put lights on the children daycare building
“My favorite place about the lights is Steen Hall with the big star in between each building I felt that was very creative and I am amazed at how they got that high to put it up I can only imagine how scary that was,” said Borens.
To learn more about the Christmas lighting show you can visit them on the SFA campus across from Hall 16 or you can visit their website at
Every year, foster children in Nacogdoches County spend Christmas without a twinkle in their eye or a smile on their face. They believe Santa’s magical sleigh flies over their house without even thinking to stop and drop off some cheer to place under a tree or in an old, worn stocking.
SFA student apartments, The Grove, joined together with casaforchildren.org to help spread the Christmas cheer and place a shine in children’s’ eyes across the area.
A tall Christmas tree, decorated with sparkling tinsel, lively lights and the wish lists of foster children in the area, was the focal point of the main clubhouse at The Grove.
Residents can stop by the clubhouse and choose a wish list off of the tree in hopes of making a child’s Christmas special. Occupants of the apartments can choose just a few items off the list to purchase or buy all the items listed.
“When I lived back home, my family and I would always chose an angel off of the local ‘Angel Tree’ in our town in hopes that we were reaching out to a child who was less fortunate than us,” Melanie Salas, SFA senior and Grove resident, said. “Since I don’t live at home anymore, I want to still continue the tradition of reaching out to children at Christmas and this was the perfect way.”
Salas said her classmates her split the wish list amongst them and all felt great about making a child’s Christmas so much brighter.
Residents from all over The Grove are making this Christmas a brighter one for a child in the area. Josh Murray, SFA junior and Grove resident, said this is the first year he has ever participated in something like this.
“Since I am older now, I feel like I can appreciate things more than when I was a kid,” Murray said. “It feels great to give back and know that one kid out there will be happier on Christmas morning and that I made a difference.”
For other residents, this event means much more than picking out a wish list and giving gifts to deprived children of Deep East Texas. For one young woman, this event is a way for her to give back to the community the way they gave to her.
Krista Bradford, SFA senior and Grove resident, said that she was placed in foster care at a young age and can remember what it was like around the holidays.
“I can remember being skeptical about making a wish list for Christmas because nothing else in my life seemed to be going my way,” Bradford said. “Why would someone take the time to get me even one present?”
The first Christmas Bradford wrote a wish list, some kind person in the community had fulfilled it with every item she asked for.
“Though I didn’t believe in many people or place my trust in anyone, I believed for a moment that someone truly cared about me,” she said.
Bradford explained that even though she will never know who made her Christmas special, she will always have a special place in her heart for them and never forget the compassion that was displayed to her.
“I want to do the same for another child because I know the joy and happiness that Christmas can truly bring,” she said. “That same joy and happiness will last for years to come just as it has for me,” she said with smile.
Year round, casaforchildren.org, as well as CASA of Deep East Texas, hosts different events as a way to reach out to the foster children of the area. They join with different organizations throughout the vicinity in hopes that Nacogdoches as a community can make a difference in a child’s life.
According to their website, casaofdet.com, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Deep East Texas trains and supervises volunteers to speak in court for child victims of abuse and neglect, in order to effectively prepare them for a hopeful, productive future in a safe, permanent home.
According to casaforchildren.org, the National CASA Association is a network of 955 programs that are recruiting, training and supporting volunteers to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children in the courtroom and other settings.
The color purple is instilled in the hearts of every current and former student of Stephen F. Austin State University. No matter where you go there will always be something purple, even Santa Clause.
A new tradition was started last year by student’s in the Freshman Leadership Academy taught by Dean of Student Affairs, Dr. Adam Peck. Students in the class have to choose a service project each year in the class and propose it to Dr. Peck.
“Leadership is one of those things that you can’t just read about or study about but you have to do it. So each year we have the group do a project, a service project that they have to propose,” said Dr. Peck.
Dr. Peck presented an idea he borrowed from his previous institution called “Blue Santa.” The idea was to have a toy drive for faculty and staff, then donate the toys to those who don’t get the chance to receive toys during this time of year.
The Freshman Leadership Academy did not hesitate in choosing this project, calling it “Purple Santa.” They split into groups and each were in charge of certain things such as logistics and advertisement.
“What was unique about it was you know, we have an angel tree and a number of other ways to collect toys on campus but nobody was focusing on faculty and staff, and so we selected that project,” said Dr. Peck.
A message was sent to faculty about the toy drive and when the pick up time would be. Boxes were placed in different departments to collect the toys. A day was set out for pick up and the staff and faculty had their picture made with the students who were picking up the toys. A purple santa suit was put together so there was an actual purple santa their to collect the toys.
“We sent out a message to all faculty and staff saying hey this will be the day, bring in your toys and purple santa will come and visit your office and you can get your picture taken and pick up the toys,” said Dr. Peck.
The faculty and staff donated so many toys that it filled an entire 15-passenger van. Last year the toys were taken to children at Godtel and the left overs were taken to the empty stocking fund.
“It worked out just great. It was fun for the students, the offices get to have a little holiday cheer and have a lot of fun. It’s been a really great project,” said Dr. Peck.
This year’s Freshman Leadership Academy chose a different service project that dealt with the recent wildfires but Dr. Peck didn’t want such a wonderful project to go away.
“This year my leadership class didn’t select it. They decided they wanted to work on wildfires,” said Dr. Peck. “But it seemed like to good of a project to waste.”
This year the project is headed by Dr. Peck and co-sponsored by the Student Government Association. Students from last year’s Freshman Leadership Academy loved the project so much that they have dedicated time again to help Dr. Peck with the toy collection.
“I will be there, and Sarah Feye who is our Student Regent and also works in my office, will definitely be with me. And then Student Government Association is co-sponsoring it with us. Some of the people from the last class who represent organizations like RHA and SAA so there will be a pretty good variety of students,” said Dr. Peck.
This year’s pick up will be Friday, December 7th and will begin at 9:00 a.m. Keep an eye out for a Purple Santa near you!
The City of Nacogdoches Visitor’s Bureau has partnered up with many oragnizations including the SFA RHA and businesses such as Frank’s Nacogdoches, to put on the first annual “Christmas in the Plaza” event. “Christmas in the Plaza” is just one of many events the city is puttig on in celebration of the holiday season. Public Relations coordinator for the Visitor’s Bureau, Samantha Mora, details the festival and the events to come.