The Student News Site of Ramapo High School




50 Years of Joy

Living within Bergen County and being fortunate enough to attend Ramapo, it is easy to live in a bubble. It’s easy to get wrapped up in our own world and remain oblivious to the lives and needs of those a little beyond our area. 


This 2023-2024 holiday season marks the 50th anniversary of the Holiday Fest at Ramapo. The Holiday Fest is an ongoing Ramapo tradition that perfectly displays our school’s dedication to helping those who are less fortunate than ourselves and has been giving back to the community since 1973 – all while spreading the holiday spirit. 


Senor Rodriguez, a Spanish teacher at Ramapo and the administrator of the Holiday Fest for the last 17 years, explains “The beauty of the holiday festival is that it gives a chance to the students of Ramapo to get involved in a kind of selfless activity. Something that they can do for people who are less privileged than them. Giving is a better business than receiving. The students here have the chance to meet other people, interact with other communities, to be exposed to different realities and cultural approaches…It’s so great what the Ramapo students do, they don’t even realize it.”


Emily Dyer, a sophomore at Ramapo who has been involved with the Holiday Fest for two years now, commented that her favorite part of the fest was seeing “the smiles on these kids’ faces as they go through the day and open gifts. It makes you feel so good.”


Ramapo’s relationship with the Roberto Clemente Elementary School in Paterson is the foundation of this event. Senora Rodriguez commented that this connection began through Spanish teachers in the Ramapo language department who had previous relationships with people who live in the school’s community. 


She explained that in earlier years, she and the other world language teachers would bring Ramapo students to the Roberto Clemente school itself. Similar to today’s Holiday Fest, the Ramapo students would get partnered up and spend the day with a child. Ramapo paused this program after 2 years and it eventually evolved into the lively, exciting, and intricately planned experience that it is today. 


The Roberto Clemente school has been a part of the Holiday Fest with Ramapo, or a similar experience, for centuries. It has become a generational experience to experience the Holiday Fest. “The kids who are doing it now, their parents probably did it. Maybe even their grandparents did it – if their family stayed in the area. Everyone at the school looks forward to this day, ” Senora Rodriguez commented. 

Senor Rodrguez shared, “The kids of Roberto Clemente, they leave this place, after the Holiday Fest, with this joy. We are making an experience for them.”


That sentiment itself is enough to convince the majority of the student body at Ramapo to participate in this event. Sarah Mainwald, a Senior at Ramapo and the leading chair of the 2023 Holiday festival elaborated on her hopes for this year’s event. “My hope for this year’s Holiday Festival is to get as many people involved as possible! A hope I have for next year is that hopefully, more people will step up to the larger roles. We always have a ton of people wanting to be escorts or elves which is a tremendous help, but we also need people who can do the larger roles.”


Let’s keep this tradition alive, Ramapo! Especially as our class of 2024 grows close to graduation, it’s important for underclassmen to step up, and take over the responsibilities of this event. And most importantly, have the opportunity to continue to fill the children of Roberto Clemente’s holidays with joy. 

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Lindsey Morrison, Editor-In-Chief (23-24), Online Editor (22-23)

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