Decorated doors? Been there.
Decorated classrooms? Done that.
To wind down this historically difficult year, the staff at Traviss Technical College had something else in mind: transforming their interior hallways into a winter wonderland.
“We all need a pick me up this year,” said Assistant Director Angela Perpilus. “COVID has taken away our ability to interact with one another and to do a lot of the things we normally would. We needed a way to bring back some cheer.”
So, in one of her weekly “Monday Motivation” emails to the staff, Perpilus issued a challenge:
My focus this week is teamwork. In the same way COVID-19 has impacted the way we celebrate our successes, it has also changed the way we collaborate. Teamwork is still a very important part of our school. Sharing what works and seeking advice from others is crucial in growth … So in the great spirit of the holidays and team work, I have a challenge for you all. Let’s see which building can create the most holiday spirit …
With that one email, Traviss staff members were off and running.
They turned blank bulletin boards into canvases for holiday greetings. In the hallways, they set up Christmas trees decorated with items reflecting the schools’ programs, such as the one near the cosmetology department covered in hair rollers. And in Building 7, students and staff erected multiple archways strung with brightly colored lights.
Perpilus said because the school offers such a wide variety of programs and services for students of all ages, it can be difficult to design projects that engage everyone at once.
“The holiday decorating has been really well received,” she said. “The buildings have done their own planning meetings and have been sending emails to one another. Everyone pitched in and tried to do something. I think we all just needed something special this year.”
Teacher Robert Driver, who later this week will play Santa Claus for children of students participating in the school’s Teen Parent program, couldn’t wait to get started decorating the school.
“It’s been a depressing year for most people. I jumped on it because this should be the happiest time of year, when people get hope and look forward to the future,” he said.
Teacher Christopher Hallock said that judging by the reactions of students, Perpilus and the rest of the Traviss staff accomplished their goal.
“I’ve been hearing giggling and laughter in the hallways for the first time this year. The students’ attitudes have changed,” he said. “We’ve brought back some of their hope and cheer.”
Traviss staff members will vote on which building should win the decorating contest later this week.
For more information on Traviss Technical College, visit polkedpathways.com/traviss-technical-college/.