PARKERSBURG - The community gathered Monday evening at Parkersburg South High School to celebrate the holiday season with the school's annual Christmas Lighting ceremony.
The annual event featured musical performances by the high school's bands and choirs, cheerleaders and Southern Belles as well as a number of choruses from the area middle schools whose students will eventually go to PSHS.
There was traditional Christmas music, popular favorites and more for an auditorium full of people from around the community.
Photo by Brett Dunlap
Parkersburg South High School held its annual Christmas Lighting ceremony Monday. The annual event featured musical performances by the high school’s bands and choirs, the cheerleaders and Southern Belles as well as a number of choruses from the area middle schools.
The Parkersburg South Woman's Club raised $3,000 for the "Joy To The World" lights outside of the school and provided cookies and hot chocolate to those in attendance.
"They have been invaluable to this particular night," Parkersburg South Principal Tom Eschbacher said. "They continue to help us out here at South."
Diana Moore, co-president of the South Parkersburg Woman's Club, said they have a number of fundraisers throughout the year to help pay for the lights as well as a number of community activities they are involved in.
"We donate to over 30 different organizations every year," she said.
The club also provide scholarships for students at PSHS, said Pamm Mackie, the club's co-president.
Moore said events like Monday's ceremony bring people out, but also show what is available at the school.
"I think parents of high school kids and parents of kids who will be in high school, they get to visit the school and see the different organizations who involve themselves with the school," she said.
During Monday's event, the Woman's Club usually serves 500-600 cups of hot chocolate and around 900 cookies every year, Mackie said.
"It is just a whole community event here at Parkersburg South," Mackie said. "It just brings the people of the community together."
Paula Newell's son was performing in the Edison Middle School Choir. The south Parkersburg resident said the holiday season always has a meaning people need to remember.
"It is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ our savior of course," she said.
She also credited the fun aspects of the season like Santa Claus and the fun people always have as a reason everyone coming out. Events help to bring people together throughout the community.
"It sure does," Newell said.
The performing arts are a big part of PSHS with music, dance, cheer, drama, visual arts, speech and more that make up a number of activities the students are involved with, Eschbacher said.
"In my opinion, it is one of the best recruiting tools that we have at Parkersburg South High School," he said. "There are a lot of other activities that require participation outside the normal school day.
"As a former band director and former choir director, I know how important it is for students to be involved outside of the school day."
The parents present understood the value in their children being "involved," Eschbacher said.
Dana Stiffler and Jamie Ingram were in the Freshman Choir at South and both said the annual lighting ceremonies are a tradition in the community.
"It shows our traditional side," Ingram said.
"We are not just a typical school," Stiffler added. ''We care about our community.
"We are a community strong school and we do a lot of things with the community."