ANDOVER — Each year, as we approach the holiday season, Pymatuning Valley High School traditionally holds a contest for school organizations and individuals to decorate a tree according to the theme of that year. Past themes have celebrated school spirit with themes like Golden Holidays for the 50th anniversary of the creation of Pymatuning Valley. It really creates a festive scene, and students enjoy the time they spend decorating their club’s tree and appreciate the opportunity to win prizes for their combination of creativity and hard work. The contest is sponsored by the school’s PRIDE Committee and run by Student Council.
In planning for it, this year’s theme was inspired by last year’s Advanced Placement Literature English class. The English classes have sponsored a “Crazy Can” Day in the past, and for bringing in canned food and non-perishables, students were rewarded with some free class time while the English teacher totals the number of servings the classes have produced. Last year’s junior AP Literature class found themselves enjoying the counting, and with a creative flair, started using the cans and boxes as blocks, creating clever can structures. After counting the servings on a good, the students would place their good where they saw fit, eventually creating an extravagantly designed sculpture of a castle. Their synthesis of imagination and willful work sparked the idea to continue the creation of such sculptures, and to incorporate it into the holiday tree contest.
Inspired by the volume of cans collected last year and by the desire for a theme, this year the contest is being called – Generosi-Trees! Dan Jackson, Pymatuning Valley’s new principal, really liked the idea of the canned food sculptures, but he felt that the school shouldn’t break with the tradition of the more traditional trees as well. So this year, after the Thanksgiving holiday, students will be decorating evergreens in the center of the walk and using the canned sculptures against the walls.