Christmas Spirit Enlightened by Nonnewaug’s Holiday Shenanigans


Nonnewaug High School/Instagram

Nonnewaug athletic director Declan Curtin sits in his office, which was completely wrapped in paper at the start of the final week before holiday break.

Anna Crocker and Maia Colavito

WOODBURY — Christmas is right around the corner, and holiday spirits at Nonnewaug are high, but some students are busy bringing out the true meaning of the naughty list.

Nonnewaug athletic director and dean of student Declan Curtin walked into his office to start the week before Christmas only to see everything — literally almost everything — in wrapping paper.

“I was absolutely stunned when I walked into my office,” Curtin said. “My kids were with me, and they actually opened the door first and had a little bit of an OMG moment. For me, I take a lot of pride that they took all this time to decorate the office in the way that they did, because almost every single item in my office was in wrapping paper.” 

The decorations were courtesy of the National Art Honor Society, which also decorated the entire lobby with wintry paintings and decor.

“When kids get an opportunity to do something outside the box, they run with it,” Curtin said. “They take the initiative. They see it as a chance to be a little bit different, and over the years throughout Nonnewaug, we’ve always had that. I can tell you that this was the most decorated front lobby I’d ever seen. They surely went way above and beyond the call of duty.”

They were not the only areas decorated around Nonnewaug; many teachers have also taken the idea to spread the holiday cheer.

“Christmas is all about bringing out good spirit and good feelings in everybody,” said school nurse Sandy Snabaitis, whose Leo Club also spearheaded the school’s holiday food drive. “I like to do this by decorating my room the way that you guys asked me, and to try and make it a bit more positive to put us all into the holiday spirit.”

Social studies teacher Kyle Brennan also decorated with lights on all sides of his room.

“One of our custodians, Evaldo, came in the other day after school,” Brennan said, “and he had walked in to take a phone call, and he said, ‘Your room is the only one with service, so I walked into your room and the lights were on, and it just put me in such a great mood.’ I hope that it makes a difference in people’s Christmas cheer.”

There was also a holiday spirit week to encourage students and staff to dress the part, including an ugly sweater day. Curtin said the holiday spirit exemplifies the spirit of Nonnewaug.

I enjoy the holiday decorations because to me it’s about giving and not being selfish,” Curtin said. “I love the fact that the tree is out there [in the lobby] with messages to help others. I enjoy seeing the food pantries being filled with donations from our students and our community. I enjoy the art department’s efforts that they put forth to decorate the school and to beautify it. I think it makes it a happier place to be and one that we’re proud of. [It] shows we care about others, not just ourselves, and for or me, that’s the most important message of this season.”