South Tahoe High students carry on Winter Festival tradition

Miranda Jacobson

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The holiday season is in full swing in the Lake Tahoe basin, and this year, Barton Hospital has passed the tradition of the Winter Festival celebration to the students of South Tahoe High School.

The free festival will take place from 4-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 3-4 at South Tahoe High School.

After 15 years of running the event, Barton decided to donate their decorations for the event to the school, who saw the festival as a perfect opportunity for students to engage in serious hands-on learning through organizing the entire thing from start to finish.

“We stepped up and said we would take it, but it was going to be a student run project where the students are leading all activities and doing all aspects of it, except for the food,” said Dental and Event Planning Director Liz Ferguson. “We’re always asking the district and people outside of it for donations to help for fundraising, and we figured that this would be a good time for us to say thank you to our community and let all the kids be a part of something celebrating this winter.”

The decorations were completely done by the students at the high school, along with many of the activities and attractions.
Provided/Liz Ferguson

The event is free besides food, and will use four buildings within the campus to mix student’s educational goals and winter festivities for the community. Over 300 students are currently working to put together the event.

Attractions will include the Teddy Bear Hospital, which will be completely run by students from the sports medicine department, as well as performances from the high school choir, dance team, and bands. In addition, there will be local food trucks, performances from the LTUSD and STMS choirs, and even a meteorologist station where guests can make their own weather report.

“These are the careers that they’ve done,” said Ferguson. “The kids are going to be teaching other kids what they’re learning.”

The even will have photos with Santa, as well as a Letter to Santa station for the children.
Provided/Liz Ferguson

The family friendly event will offer opportunities to take photos with Santa Claus in the decorated buildings, with brightly lit trees and a variety of options to support students.

Additionally, a silent auction will be held, with items geared towards celebrating the community members and local businesses.

Bidders will have the chance to win K2 skis of choice at a value of $900, an Idle Hour, Tahoe Bike Company, and Tahoe Cruises packages, or a Home Again fully decorated Christmas tree.

STHS Principal Justin Zunino sees this as an opportunity to help spread holiday cheer, but also allow students to explore potential career paths they might not have before.

“It’s a great opportunity for students that perhaps are not necessarily in that pathway to jump in and be part of an event here that welcomes the community,” Zunino said. “It’s a great opportunity for kids to get involved and be engaged in and planning for the actual execution of the event itself. We’ve had an incredible response from students that have been willing and wanting to get involved, and we’re really proud of that.”

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