Here the Holidays Come!
Follow the Community Section as they reflect on some of the major events of the seasons, and interview students about what their favorite part of the holidays is!
December 10, 2017
East alumni snowing home for the holidays
As the holiday season comes and goes, families travel near and far to be with one another. Many college students in particular start trekking back to their roots after their first semester at school this time of year. The break has many advantages for college students. No classes, sleeping in their own bed, and home-cooked meals—what else could a college kid ask for? Besides their family and the comfort of their own home, there can only be so much more that they miss. As many former East students made their way home for their Thanksgiving feasts, we wondered: what did they miss the most from home while away at school?
“Since I am closer to home I get to see my family pretty often, so I was most looking forward to all of my friends coming back from school and us getting to be together again, since we are all so spread out now,” said Zach Padersky (‘17), who now attends The College of New Jersey. Padersky and his friends were able to reunite over the holiday break and spend some quality time together, just as they did in the old “high school” days.
Megan Muench (‘17) is also not that far from home. Attending the University of Delaware, which is only about an hour away, she frequently visits Cherry Hill on the weekends. One thing that Muench did miss was the Spirit Week activities that occur at East around this time of year. While home for the break, Muench and her friends gladly took time out of their reunion to return to their alma mater and sit front row in the DiBart Gym bleachers on the night of Tuesday, November 21, the Spirit Week dance competition.
“I came home for Thanksgiving, but I was also super excited to go watch the Spirit Week dance. It’s a really fun tradition at East and I always loved doing it,” said Muench.
Erica Thunberg (‘17) is a bit too far away to make weekly trips home. Since she studies at the University of South Carolina, coming home for the holidays requires a bit of a longer journey.
“I was so excited to come home and be with my family since I am so far away, but I was also really excited to see my friends’ families that I became close with during my high school years,” said Thunberg. While Thunberg missed her friends and family very much, she also missed Cherry Hill and what makes it so special, mentioning one necessity in particular.
“It sounds kinda weird but I genuinely missed Wawa… there are none around me and I used to go to one like everyday here, so I was really excited to come home and get some Wawa,” said Thunberg.
As college students return home for the upcoming holidays, they will be reunited with dearly-missed friends, family and even certain convenience stores. But as much as they enjoy being home, it will only be a matter of time before they can’t wait to get out of the house and return to their newfound college lifestyles again.
East Marching Band finishes off the season strong at Collingswood Parade
The Cherry Hill East Marching Band put the cherry on top of a successful season with its final performance at the annual Holiday Collingswood Parade on the morning of Saturday, November 25.
Every Saturday after Thanksgiving, many people and families line the streets of Collingswood to get into the holiday spirit by watching dancers, singers, mummers, people on stilts, bands, local companies and even famous characters parade down the street. Every member of the parade excited the crowd, and the East marching band was no exception.
The Collingswood parade started with many acts, including a few marching bands from other schools. However, when the East Marching Band approached the crowds, headed by the color guard, people erupted with cheers and claps. Whether it was a family member of a student in the band, or someone who had never heard of the East marching band, the crowd showed enthusiasm as the band played loudly and proudly.
East students raise a total of 2,600 cans for the South Jersey Food Bank
This year’s Spirit Week food drive saw an unexpectedly low number of can donations. A total of 2,600 food items were raised over the course of the week, far short of the 5,800 raised last year.
The freshman class came in first place with 940 cans raised, followed by the seniors with 606, the juniors with 585 and the sophomores with 481. All four classes fell short of meeting their goal of raising raising one thousand cans each.
“It’s definitely less than we got last year,” said Mr. Charles Davis, Activities Director. “We could do a little better.” He believes promoting the drive earlier, informing parents and creating incentives for donating could help improve participation in the future.
Justin Shapiro (‘20), one of the sophomore class vice presidents, also emphasized the importance of publicizing the event. “[The number of cans] was a little disappointing, considering we won last year,” he said. “I think it’s about getting the word out and letting everyone in the class know.”
Student Government Association officers stressed the value of actively participating in philanthropy as a school, since all the cans go toward the South Jersey Food Bank and the Cherry Hill Food Pantry.
“It’s for a really good cause,” said Madeline Levin (‘18), Student Government President. “We definitely need to raise more school spirit in terms of the dress-up days and raising cans…it’s not all about the dance.”
Saurabh Shah (‘19), junior class president, agreed. “The food drive is the most important part [of Spirit Week] because of the impact it has on the community,” he said. “I think something we should be doing as a school is raising money [along with cans], because everyone has two or three dollars in their pocket.”
While the officers plan to work to increase donation turnout next year, they are still glad to have made an impact this year.
Tyler Semon (‘21), freshman class president, said, “With such a big class, I’m proud of people for bringing in cans and helping out a good cause.”
Looking Back at Black Friday 2017
Black Friday, a day notorious for Americans’ violent displays of greed, has begun to prevail over the gratitude that is meant to be instilled throughout our country by the holiday that we celebrate just hours before the sales commence—Thanksgiving. Although the day of shopping and sales is meant to follow the day of reunion and thankfulness, the distinction between the two has begun to fade. In recent years, the number of retailers that have opened their doors to crowds of thrifty shoppers before the clock strikes 12 on Black Friday has steadily increased. This begs the question: have Black Friday sales caused us to lose the true meaning of Thanksgiving?
For many, Thanksgiving is the one time of year to put all materialism aside and focus on the important aspects of life—family and friends. This belief completely contradicts the 8 p.m. sales that interrupt the Thanksgiving celebration. Mornings are spent flipping through Black Friday circulars for the best deal instead of watching the parades, feasts are cut short by the rush to the early sales and Thanksgiving loses its value to the materialistic habits of American shoppers.
For example, Best Buy even uses its large platform to publish a corporate blog about its Black Friday highlights, which publicizes the tradition of camping out in front of the store, and, by extension, the sacrifice of family time on Thanksgiving. Best Buy pushes its promotion even further by not only advertising its most drastic discounts, but also its personal tips for shoppers to have a successful shopping experience and get the biggest bang for their buck.
Not only do shoppers manipulate their Thanksgiving plans around the early doorbusters, but employees are affected, too. Cashiers and clerks are needed on the store floor more than ever during the chaos of Black Friday, pulling more people away from family dinners and dragging them into the corrupt materialistic madness.
While certain retailers like Toys R Us remained open from 5:30 p.m. on Thursday through Friday night, in the midst of the retail madness, some locations have managed to maintain a tradition of staying closed during the holiday. The Cherry Hill Mall closed at midnight on Thanksgiving Day and reopened at 6 a.m. on Friday morning.
Expressing extreme opposition to the ethical issues of Black Friday, all REI locations, including the local Marlton store, closed on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday. The company’s explanation to the public is simple, promoting its campaign to #OptOutside, encouraging its customers to choose a more meaningful way to spend the holiday season as opposed to shopping.
A fair share of discounts remain at popular stores like Forever 21 even after Black Friday comes to a close. The public becomes so obsessed with, and so distracted by, the marketing of Black Friday that it prioritizes sales that are not as exclusive as they seem over time with loved ones. In fact, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) predicted an increase in overall shopper spending this Black Friday by three percent. Doorbuster deals come at the tremendous cost of missing out on a holiday based on appreciating the priceless things in life.
As the public perspective of Thanksgiving continues to be associated with Black Friday discounts, American greed drains the true spirit of giving thanks this season.