LA ninth graders who helped at the Villages of Light event in the LA Dining Commons. From left: Sol Obregon, Cannon Smith, Kayden Correll, Emma-Leigh Moody, Greg Demerritt, Reese Nelson Amelia Rice, Piper Lane Warfield, and Bailey Brewer.

LA ninth graders helped brighten the holidays for Thanksgiving and the local Villages of Light celebration. Students donated Thanksgiving baskets to the Ecumenical Food Pantry before Thanksgiving. On Saturday, November 19 they helped set up Christmas trees in the Twin Villages, and on Saturday, November 26 they helped out with the holiday event that took place in the LA Dining Commons as part of Villages of Light.

Jayson Benner (Santa) and Mr Abbott (elf) help out with the 2022 Villages of Light parade.  Jayson is a Jr member of the Bristol Fire Department and Mr Abbott is a Captain with the Newcastle Fire Company.

Jayson Benner (Santa) and Mr Abbott (elf) help out with the 2022 Villages of Light parade. Jayson is a Jr member of the Bristol Fire Department and Mr Abbott is a Captain with the Newcastle Fire Company.

“The Villages of Light planning team reached out to use our Alumni Dining Commons space to host Santa and offer free holiday crafts for kids,” explained Heather D’Ippolito, Director of Community Engagement and Development. “We’re always interested in hosting community events when we can. It was a wonderful opportunity to bring younger families to campus.”

“It’s great to have our ninth graders start their high school careers with a community-service orientation,” said Laura Phelps, LA Librarian and Freshman Class Dean, who organized the service projects. “Students had fun, connected with community members and got a jump on class fundraising at the Villages of Light Festival.”

“After a few years of covid restrictions that limited our ability to be more broadly involved in volunteer and fundraising events, our freshmen seized the opportunity to get involved in this fun community event,” said Dean of Students Jake Abbott.

Freshman class president Greg Demeritt enjoyed being part of the festivities, saying “It was great to be a part of the first Class of 2026 fundraiser! It was fun to spread Christmas cheer while serving hot chocolate to our community. This endeavor was a success and will set our class on the right track to meet our fundraising goals.”

Class fundraisers at LA help alleviate the costs of grade-level expenses, including everything from freshmen t-shirts, to hosting prom, to Senior Week Fees.

“We were very productive, and it was fun,” said ninth grader Torren Nehrboss. “We got to socialize with our friends and help out at the same time. It was great to do something for the community.”

“We put up lights on the big Christmas trees downtown,” said freshman Helen Duffy. I think the highlight was that we got to use zip ties to attach them.”