Festival of Lights giant greeting card winners share inspiration, impact

Local News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- The Holiday Festival of Lights is a long-standing holiday tradition in Charleston, but lights aren’t the only thing on display.

Head over to Santa’s Village and you’ll find a row of giant greeting cards, each one specially designed and created by students at schools across the Lowcountry.

This year, 28 student groups from Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester Counties competed in three different divisions: elementary, middle, and high school.

This year’s winners are:

Elementary School Division:
1st Place: Harbor View Elementary School
2nd Place: James Island Elementary School
3rd Place: Live Oak Little School

Middle School Division:
1st Place: Summerville Catholic School
2nd Place: Camp Road Middle School
3rd Place: Charleston Christian School

High School Division:
1st Place: First Baptist School
2nd Place: North Charleston High School-Art Dept.
3rd Place: Crown Leadership Academy

Harbor View Elementary School Card (1st Place- Elementary School Division)

Each participating group was given a blank piece of wood from James Island County Park to use as their canvas and teachers said the project took a little over a month to complete.

“We received the piece of plywood Sept 18 and turned our gigantic greeting card to the park on Oct 23rd…so a little over a month,” Harbor View Elementary School teacher Amber McQueen said. “It’s completed by my fifth graders and they just rotate down and around when we can get them in here.”

Summerville Catholic School Card (1st Place- Middle School Division)

Card design took many forms with some teachers saying it was inspired by their school’s mascot and others drawing inspiration from the Lowcountry itself. Jean Fox from Summerville Catholic School said their first place card was inspired by the surf and sand of Charleston’s beaches, complete with Santa surfing the waves and a flip-flop palmetto tree.

“We try to keep everything, the last four years we’ve been doing this card, something related to Charleston whether it be significant places in Charleston or like this year we decided to do the beach theme,” Fox said.

Fox added that students from all grades participated in the project, each contributing to a different element of their beach scene.

“The palm tree has flip flops as ornaments and K-3 through 4th grade designed each one of the ornaments for the tree, so they all had a little part,” she said, adding that 4th and 5th graders painted the shells. “And then I just select a few from middle school and they paint the bigger pieces on the card.”

Each school that places in the top three of their division receives a trophy and a cash prize to use for their school’s art program. McQueen said she plans to use the cash prize to purchase new materials for her classroom.

“I started making my list today,” she laughed. “It’s important because print making is something I’ve wanted to bring into the classroom and the supplies are expensive so hopefully I can get some jelly plates, maybe some rollers, and go from there.”

A sense of pride, however, might be the biggest prize in the eyes of teachers and students.

“I was just proud that they did it, you know a lot of times they get fearful of putting their work out there and its just such an awesome experience for them to complete this,” Jennifer Connell, a teacher at North Charleston High School said. “They worked as a team and it was just a great way for them to work together and to complete something that represents the school and the community so well.”

Students said they enjoyed working on the project and that it feels to good to have their work recognized on the local stage.

“When I had heard that we won, it was just such good joy knowing that I had a big part of it.” – Lindsey Burridge (8th grade, Summerville Catholic School)

“It was an amazing experience. When Ms. Connell told me we won I was like ‘what?!’ so yeah it was awesome.”- Fatima Cuevas (11th grade, North Charleston High School)

“It makes me feel good to know that I helped make something that represents our school.”  -Abigail Barnett (5th grade, Harbor View Elementary School)

“It was super fun and I loved being with my favorite art teacher. I loved the idea and I can’t believe that we won.” -Ellie Mathos (5th grade, Harbor View Elementary School)

The Giant Greeting Cards are on display in Santa’s Village at the James Island County Park Festival of Lights until Dec. 31.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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