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With the Songs Sung and the Gifts Given, GA Celebrates the Holidays

On Monday, December 19, students and faculty from across the school gathered in the Field House for our annual CSO Holiday Program. Ushered in to the Upper School Jazz Band’s rendition of “Santa Claus is Coming To Town,” everyone arrived bearing toys, clothes, gift cards and basic necessities to make the holiday season a little brighter and more comfortable for those in need. The gifts will go to support children and families through Mitzvah Circle, Cradles to Crayons, Gemma Services, the American Ukrainian Relief Association, Carson Valley Children’s Aid, Southwest Philadelphia Community Services and Family Promise.

Coordinated by faculty advisors Anthony Commale and Carlos Chubb, the CSO senior leaders Ryleigh Dougherty, Kate Stone, Serena Bagga, Jacob Sasson, Morgan Hellebusch, Asher Sasson, Hannah Manusov and Anna Gamburg served as speakers at the event and introduced the work done by each of the charities. They were assisted by Sanya Bandekar, Elaine Li, Eve Kraynak and Grace Boynton and many other CSO “elves.” The program also featured performances by the 8th Grade Chorus on Morris, the Upper School Percussion Ensemble and the Singing Patriots, along with some delightfully awkward TikTok performances by some brave faculty!

The Holiday Program serves as a touchstone that not only signals winter break is near, but reminds us of what’s important—caring, generosity and kindness. Senior Ryleigh Dougherty captured the spirit, saying, “For me, the Holiday Program is special because it's one of the only times when the entire GA community comes together and exhibits overwhelming generosity. Watching children as young as five years old selflessly place their gifts in donation piles is really heartwarming.” - Robynne Graffam '86

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