Christmas around the heart

Convent+of+the+Sacred+Heart+seniors+sing+and+dance+to+the+famous+Christmas+carol+%22Twelve+Days+of+Christmas%22+during+morning+meeting.%0ACourtesy+of+Ms.+Karen+Panarella+

Convent of the Sacred Heart seniors sing and dance to the famous Christmas carol “Twelve Days of Christmas” during morning meeting. Courtesy of Ms. Karen Panarella

It is not only the vision of Saint Madeline Sophie Barat that connects students of Sacred Heart schools but also the Christmas traditions they hold in common.
Convent of the Sacred Heart Greenwich students embrace the Christmas spirit by baking holiday treats for the annual Upper School cookie exchange, collecting winter clothes and toys for children at the Carver Center, participating in Secret Santa gift exchanges and Christmas caroling.  Seniors also continue the tradition of counting down the twelve days of school left before vacation by singing the Twelve Days of Christmas at every morning meeting starting December 1.

Convent of the Sacred Heart seniors sing and dance to the famous Christmas carol "Twelve Days of Christmas" during morning meeting.  Courtesy of Ms. Karen Panarella
Convent of the Sacred Heart seniors sing and dance to the famous Christmas carol “Twelve Days of Christmas” during morning meeting.
Courtesy of Ms. Karen Panarella

Halfway across the world, Sacred Heart students at Kincoppal Rose Bay school in Sydney, Australia celebrate Christmas with their classmates, although they spend the holiday season on summer vacation.
“This year in religion class we learned about the background of Christmas and focused on the religious aspects of the holiday,” Sacred Heart exchange student and Kincoppal Rose Bay junior Tyla Comino said. “We also do Krist Kringle, which is similar to a Secret Santa, and sing Christmas carols on a Sunday afternoon as a community.”
By comparison, Sacred Heart students in Taiwan generally celebrate Christmas with close family members.
“Christmas is more of a romantic couple holiday rather than a family occasion,” Sacred Heart exchange student and sophomore Chiha Hung from the Sacred Heart Girls Jr. and Sr. High School said. “Not many families in Taiwan celebrate Christmas and if they do, they celebrate by going to a nice fancy restaurant rather than receiving gifts.”
Sacred Heart exchange student Flor Supras, who attends La Perverie in Nantes, France, was surprised to see all of the decorations and activities that Sacred Heart Greenwich students and families perform in preparation for Christmas.
“Christmas in France is a little bit different from here,” Flor said. “We always have a Christmas tree and a nativity scene in our house but nothing else.”
In Dublin, Ireland, at Mount Anville Secondary School, students embrace the spirit of giving by supporting charities in the local community and in different countries.
“We make Christmas shoeboxes every year where we put old toys and toothbrushes and other things into wrapped boxes which get sent to children in third world countries,” recent Sacred Heart exchange student and Mount Anville junior Niamh O’Hare said. “There is also a Christmas tree that we put up with ornaments that have a child’s name and age on and we bring in small gifts and give them to charity.”
Whether Sacred Heart students are collecting gifts for children around the world or participating in the festivities with their fellow classmates, the Christmas season is a chance for the community to gather and celebrate the season of giving.
– Alessia Barcelo, Staff Writer