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The Student News Site of The Bishop's School

The Tower

The Student News Site of The Bishop's School

The Tower

The Student News Site of The Bishop's School

The Tower

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

Bishop’s has been lighting up Christmas trees for 106 years
Emeraude Westlake
The Starry Knights: Pictured from left to right Seniors Rithvik Raguram, Sophia Gleeson, Marcus Buu-hoan, and Raphael Delgado performed “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” by Tyler the Creator. Student musical groups such as the Jazz Band, Bishop’s Choir, Bishop’s Singers, middle school singers also performed festive songs.

The 2023 Bishop’s Christmas Tree Lighting was filled with excitement, holiday sweaters, and hands warmed by hot cocoa topped with mini marshmallows.

Hungry community members lined up to enjoy the popular kettle corn. Tomato soup, pizza, hot chocolate and a variety of sweet treats and baked goods, all complimentary, were available as well.

Christmas tree lightings are common traditions for institutions, ranging from Christian colleges to the National Parks Service, but the Bishop’s annual lighting feels particularly special for its community members. Serena Abraham (‘27) said that an important part of the tree lighting is that “it just brings a lot of people together.”

Another crucial part of the Bishop’s Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony is the community’s strong involvement, shared Katie Pierce (‘27). “To me [the Christmas Tree Lighting] just means me hanging out with my friends and getting to see the Christmas tree light up and [History Teacher] Mr. [Kamal] Assaf dressing up as Santa Claus,” she said.

The School’s Christmas Tree Lighting has become a well-loved tradition over the years, and its history may explain why. 

According to her memoir, Ellen Browning Scripps, the School’s founder, began this tradition in 1917. That year, she had spent a lot of time welcoming Camp Kearny (near Miramar, San Diego) soldiers, training for deployment to Belgian and French trenches, to the La Jolla community. On Christmas Day, she invited an estimated 3,000 soldiers and other guests to the Woman’s Club and community house across the street from the School for a theatrical performance and “the lighting of the giant Christmas tree, supper, and dancing,” according to the memoir’s retelling which references a letter from James A. Blaisedell to J.C. Harper dated November 6, 1924.

The ceremony, even if held in a time of war, was described as a moment of celebration. This December 1st, the Bishop’s Christmas Tree Lighting celebrated the coming holiday season and reinforced the school’s sense of community. Serena said this tradition represents “A sense of community and celebrating the holidays with my peers and friends.”

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About the Contributor
Emeraude Westlake
Emeraude Westlake, Content Editor
Emeraude is a senior and this is her second year on The Tower. This year, she is a Content Editor and she loves covering campus events and trends. Along with writing, Emeraude enjoys creating art, watching (and making!) movies, and eating food. She is on the Varsity Cross Country and Soccer team and every night, she will laugh over an episode of Modern Family with her family. 

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