By Torrey Culbertson, ’22
“Welcome to General Waverly’s Columbia Inn!” came the warm greeting of the receptionist, Admissions Officer Ms. Ashton Weed, to all of the Thomas More College students as they stepped through the grand doorway of the College’s beaux arts mansion, leaving the snow-covered world of Nashua, New Hampshire (which had recently been dumped with over two feet of snow) to enter the anxious-for-snow world of Pine Tree, Vermont.
This year, the Student Council, under the direction of Dr. Sara Kitzinger, chose “White Christmas” as the theme for the annual Winter Formal in honor of the beloved classic movie. Upon reaching the threshold of the “Inn” (a transformed Mercy Hall), students were greeted by a very chatty receptionist who busily took coats, gave little “room keys”—which were later used as raffle tickets for a fifties-themed gift box filled with Christmas goodies—and jotted down the names and lengths of stay of the hotel guests, all while keeping up conversation and laughter among the eager guests and holding an animated exchange with an imaginary client on her rotary telephone.
Once ushered upstairs to the ballroom by Mrs. Kitzinger—accompanied by her two adorable bellhops, little Josef and Philipp Kitzinger—the students were transported into a magical space abuzz with joyful conversation and swing dancing. Students danced to a live jazz band made up of students and faculty from the Berklee School of Music in nearby Boston, joined by College professor Joshua Lo on the cello, while Resident Director Mr. Daniel Leahy served up mocktails and wine. The ballroom had been given a Christmas makeover, and was adorned with tinsel, mistletoe, and a Christmas tree. With all the students dressed so elegantly—the ladies in stunning gowns, and the gentlemen in smart suits—the atmosphere perfectly suited the movie theme, and made for a memorable occasion. “It was a good time, filled with laughter, dancing, and music,” says Student Council Representative Mr. Andrew Larivee.
“Much hard work and dedication both from the Student Council and faculty goes into organizing and executing the Winter Formal,” says sophomore Miss Bridget Ruffing, “but it is worth putting aside some of the stress of finals to celebrate your accomplishments and enjoy the company of your fellow students.” As the evening wound down, Mr. Elijah Moorman, ’21, took center stage and—with a voice as sonorous as Bing Crosby—crooned “White Christmas” to the live band accompaniment. The rest of the student body joined in, in a moving affirmation of joy, friendship, and love set amidst the anticipation of Advent. “May your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be white.”