Dec. 2, 2012
Northwest community flips switch on holiday tree
The Northwest Missouri State University community and local residents marked the beginning of the holiday season Tuesday evening, Nov. 27, with the University's fourth annual Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony.
A large crowd gathered on the lawn of the historic Thomas Gaunt House for the event, which included performances by The Spirit and Truth Gospel Choir and the Horace Mann Bearcat Choir. The program also included remarks by Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski, Maryville Mayor Glenn Jonagan, Student Senate President Riley Ziemer, and Marjean Ehlers, a campus minister at the Wesley Student Center.
With the lighting of the Black Hills Spruce tree, Jasinski encouraged the crowd to remember the meaning behind the holiday season, military members and others who cannot be with their families as well as those who are less fortunate this holiday season.
“We transform it with these beautiful lights and ornaments into a symbol of hope, a symbol of unity and a symbol of peace,” Jasinski said. “The lighting of this tree is a tradition that has come to represent how we celebrate the holiday season as a community. It is a tradition that has grown to be more than just a holiday or a religion, but rather a season of kinship, of fellowship, generosity and unity among us all.”
In conjunction with the tree lighting, Northwest announced the results of its annual Project Holiday Hope initiative, to which residents were encouraged to donate blankets and clothing for families in need of them. Collection bins were placed throughout campus during the month of November.
David Weichinger, Nodaway County director for Community Services, accepted the donations on behalf of the Ministry Center. Through collection drives by Northwest student organizations and at athletics games, Northwest donated about 5 tons of food and goods to the Ministry Center this fall.
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