Burnet High School students and staff aren’t about to allow the Grinch and COVID-19 steal their holiday spirit, so the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony is still on.
And the public is invited, though COVID-19 health and safety protocols, including face coverings and social distancing, will be enforced.
The event is 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3, in the Burnet High School courtyard, 1000 The Green Mile. Admission is free, but organizers are encouraging people to bring a non-perishable food item for LACare food pantry or a warm coat for a child or teen to be given to the Boys & Girls Club of the Highland Lakes.
“I think it’s important that the students, and the staff, experience Christmas and the holidays even though COVID is going on,” said teacher Mike Erickson, who helped start the annual Christmas tree lighting five years ago. “It’s something that the campus and the community can come together for and really get the Christmas spirit going.”
Students set up a tree in the courtyard and decorate it and the surrounding area with lights, large inflatables, and other decorations, which will stay up until the Christmas break.
“We want to keep the Christmas spirit going and create a fun atmosphere for the kids,” Erickson said.
Burnet High School Principal Casey Burkhart will flip the switch to turn on the lights at the ceremony. It’s a campus-wide event, Erickson said, with the choir singing, the Esprit de Corps performing, and more. There will also be hot chocolate, s’mores, and Santa Claus.
“And, for the first time, this year we’ll have a bulldog Santa,” Erickson added, referring to an actual bulldog decked out in a Santa hat.
First Baptist Church of Burnet’s Main Street Bethlehem cast will make an appearance, dressed in costume, and share a Christmas story.
The event, sponsored by the school’s Culinary Arts program and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America chapter, involves other campus clubs, athletic programs, and organizations in creating the ornaments and decorations.
“That was the main purpose of this: to get all the high school clubs and students involved,” Erickson added. “It’s to get everyone in the Christmas spirt, something we probably all could use a little more of this year.”