Bordentown Regional High School Class of 2023 brings holiday cheer with Light the Night Festival

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The residence at 1 Exeter Court in Bordentown, NJ won the Light the Night Holiday House Decorating Contest held by the Bordentown Regional High School Class of 2023 on Dec. 12. PHOTO COURTESY OF BORDENTOWN REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL CLASS OF 2023
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The residence at 11 Gateswood Court came in third place of the Light the Night Holiday House Decorating Contest held by the Bordentown Regional High School Class of 2023 on Dec. 12. PHOTO COURTESY OF BORDENTOWN REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL CLASS OF 2023
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The residence at 1 Exeter Court in Bordentown, NJ won the Light the Night Holiday House Decorating Contest held by the Bordentown Regional High School Class of 2023 on Dec. 12. PHOTO COURTESY OF BORDENTOWN REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL CLASS OF 2023
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The residence at 11 Gateswood Court came in third place of the Light the Night Holiday House Decorating Contest held by the Bordentown Regional High School Class of 2023 on Dec. 12. PHOTO COURTESY OF BORDENTOWN REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL CLASS OF 2023

There was a new event created this year to help the Bordentown community celebrate the holiday season.

The Bordentown Regional High School Class of 2023 created a fundraiser called Light the Night Holiday Decorating Contest and Festival that folks around the community participated in on Dec. 12.

From residents partaking in a holiday house decorating competition to taking socially distant pictures with Santa Claus, the sophomore class at Bordentown Regional put together a group of safe activities for people to have a sense of normalcy this holiday season.

โ€œThe event worked out very well,โ€ said Class of 2023 Co-Supervisor Jennifer DeMas. โ€œWe made sure that everything was COVID-19 safe and we got a lot of great reviews from people. The kids did a great job helping out and their enthusiasm made it work.โ€

Vice president of the sophomore class, Kate McWhirk, pitched the idea for the class to hold the fundraiser after hearing her grandmother talk about her town of Dedham, Massachusetts, having success by conducting a similar event.

Not only did Kate see the event as a way for the sophomore class to raise money, but also to give people in the community and the school some holiday cheer during these tough times because of the coronavirus pandemic.

โ€œThis was a great experience during (tough) times like this,โ€ she said. โ€œIt gave everyone a sense of normalcy.โ€

Class President Aaron Vedaraj, Treasurer Allison Hoppe, Secretary Erin Hoppe and Historian Ryan Kaufman all helped Kate put fliers in mailboxes around the community to let people know about the event and if they wanted to participate in the house decorating contest.

To enter the contest, residents had to pay $10 to put their house on the tour.

Twenty five houses showed off their holiday spirit and participated in the contest.

Kate said residents were very kind and more willing than expected to have their houses be used for the event.

โ€œIt was very easy to get houses from the community to participate,โ€ she said.

People were told to come to the high school where the festival was being held between 4-8 p.m. to receive a link to a Google Map route to see all the houses.

Class of 2023 Co-Supervisor Amanda Sexton went around to each house before the event to track out a map for people to drive around and see.

She then shared the link to all those that came out to see the houses that laid out a route to see each home.

DeMas said people would receive the link at the high school and the route would take them through the community and back in around 90 minutes.

Each person in the car was given a ballot and could vote for their three favorite houses. There were 223 ballots given out.

The residents at 1 Exeter Ct. were the winners of the contest. Second place went to 406 Harvest Way and there was a tie for third place with both 22 Germantown Road and 11 Gateswood Ct.

Each place winner will receive a gift certificate to one of their favorite stores in the downtown area of Bordentown City, DeMas said.

Back at the high school, the Class of 2022 helped kick off the festival with a Gingerbread Bread House Contest.

Junior Class Co-Supervisor Amy Rebenda said the contest will continue throughout the week at local shops in the downtown area where people can view the gingerbread houses.

The event continued with a socially distanced set up for adults and children to take pictures with Santa Claus for $5.

Refreshments were provided by the Mastoris Diner, who brought over a food truck to the high school for guests.

The diner donated some of the proceeds they made at the event towards the sophomore class, DeMas said.

Sruti Desai of Smires & Associates Real Estate, Slip Stitch Avenue and Sole Play all helped sponsor the event, DeMas said.

Hot chocolate was also provided by the sophomore class for those in attendance as well.

The sophomore class raised close to $1,000, an amount that Kate said her classmates were very appreciative to receive.

โ€œWe had a couple fundraisers do OK this year, but did not expect this outcome from the community,โ€ she said. โ€œAll seemed to enjoy it.”

Kate also said that the school not having events like this yet this year because of the pandemic helped add more interest towards students to attend the festival and participate in the contest.

The success of the event has DeMas and Sexton preparing to set up a second annual decorating contest and festival next year, this time teaming up with all the grades in the high school to make the event bigger and better.

โ€œWeโ€™re looking to extend it to a much larger event next year,โ€ DeMas said. โ€œWe want to get all the grades involved and the student council to participate in it. We appreciate the money we raised this year and hope to make it an even better event next year.โ€