Chatter of upcoming plans mixed with excitement of the approaching holiday break filled the Springfield High School cafeteria on Friday, December 22nd, as students gathered together to celebrate Alternate Beverage Day.
Students, faculty, and alumni all gathered in the cafeteria to reminisce on the past semester while drinking hot chocolate and lemonade served by 25 student "elves." The members of Students Against Destructive Decisions also served baked goods to attendees.
While the estimated 1400 faculty, staff, students and recent alumni enjoyed their beverages, they were serenaded with holiday favorites by members of the SHS Band and Choir and surrounded by gingerbread houses created by teacher Michele Driks-Moore.
"I look forward to this day because not only do I get out of class, but I have a chance to hang out with my friends," student Matt Santarelli states. "It is great because I get to come back and see all my favorite teachers as well as catch up with former classmates," Springfield alum Liam Chambers adds.
Janet Barber, the sole faculty member in charge of this event, started this project 19 years ago after the recommendation of former SHS Principal, Dr. Bridget Kelly.
As Barber recalls, "We were looking for a way to celebrate the community after a tough start to the year. We wanted students to see that they could get together in a large group, have a great time and enjoy an alternative beverage."
Inclusiveness was the prevailing theme for the 2017 Alternate Beverage Day as a massive chain of paper draped the cafeteria windows. The meaning behind the chain was simple according to Barber. "We added the chain of life to help students see they are linked together. That they are only as strong as their weakest link and they can support each other."
Planning and preparation for the event kicks off in November and culminates in the week leading up to the event when Barber and fellow teacher, Jo Ann Kovatch, shop for the ingredients for the beverages and extra food thanks to the generous donations from the Home and School Association. The local Wawa has been gracious enough to supply all the cups for the event, while all of Barber's students bring in a baked good.
While this event might seem like an undertaking to most, Barber enjoys seeing how students and faculty come together.
"For me personally the 19 years have flown by," Barber says. "I can't imagine starting the holiday break without ending my December with alternative beverage and the celebration of the Springfield high school community."