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Starry Night Festival

The Okefenokee Technical College campus sparkled with starry lights at the second annual Starry Night Festival held Thursday night at the Waycross Campus. OTC staff,  students, friends and their families attended the festive event.

The evening began with a warm welcome from OTC President Gail Thaxton. Then the Ware County Middle School chorus, under the leadership of Julie Johnson, sang “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot like Christmas,” followed by “Silent Night” and a medley of “Deck the Halls” and “Joy to the World.” The group of sixty-seven middle-school students filled the auditorium with beautiful voices and music as they set the stage for the enchanting evening.

Afterwards, a host of small children joined OTC President Gail Thaxton on stage where they gathered around her for a Christmas story. Dr. Thaxton created suspense and excitement as she read “Twas the Night before Christmas.

Following the story, families gathered on the front lawn of the campus for a special treat. To their delight, Santa Claus dropped by to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. With those special words from Santa, Christmas lights “magically” lit up the campus, and Santa settled down in his chair to chat with the children.

The children also enjoyed other fun activities under the starry campus lights, including a snowman bean bag throw, face painting, and musical chairs. In the decorated main foyer, children were entertained by pin the nose on the reindeer, a Rudolf nose and reindeer food game, pictures with Santa, and picture frame art. Everyone also enjoyed a Christmas cookie and Christmas punch.

This Starry Night Festival was sponsored by the OTC Foundation, the SkillsUSA organization, the Student Government Association, and Phi Beta Lambda. Lori Henderson served as the Starry Night Festival Coordinator. Planning committee members included Eryn Carter (co-chair), Cassie Clemons, Mark Deal, Margaret Fairley, Wanda Freeman, Ollie Harkleroad, Eddie Murray, Carol Shugart, Cindy Tanner, Andy Brannen, and Gerald Whitehurst.

“We are very blessed to have so many people who work together for the betterment of our community and the college,” stated Dr. Thaxton.

A special thank you to Santa Claus, Mark Deal’s environmental horticulture students, the advisors and students of SkillsUSA, SGA, and PBL, and everyone who helped make the evening enchanting and wonderful.

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