Bah Humbug? Nevermore quoth Ms. Downard...Thursday, December 17, 2009 By Taylor Zehelski
Christmas trees normally mean colorful lights, shiny ornaments and a big bright star on top of the tree. But in English Department Chair Adele Downard’s class, the tree is covered with strange literature ornaments. And, instead of a big bright star at its top, a black raven from Edgar Allen Poe’s poem The Raven , oversees everything. Oh, and Poe just happens to be Downard’s favorite author. Beyond the raven, there’s more meaning to the tree. “ It’s usually filled with ornaments about literature the kids read in class, so I like knowing the impact my class has had on them,” Downard said. Junior Laura Hernandez enjoys reading stories in Downward’s class, and based her ornament on her favorite story. “I liked the story The Black Cat by Edgar Allen Poe, mainly because it shows how a demented mind can work,” Hernandez said. “I also liked being able to incorporate as much gore as I could into my ornament.” Downard’s Christmas Celebration also includes a day for giving each of her students a present. “The look on the kids faces when they realize the presents are for them is priceless, and I get to see it 160 times a day,” Downard said. Though Downard is not the only teacher with a decorated tree in her classroom, she is likely the only one with specially chosen presents. “I kind of like being the only teacher who gives presents and I pride myself on getting just the right thing for each student.” This tradition is nothing new as Downard has been getting each student a present every year. “For eleven years, I’ve done it every year I’ve been teaching,” Downard said. Despite Downard’s Christmas spirit, she does have one student she claims is the “Grinchiest” student she knows. “Junior Austin Edward says he HATES Christmas, and doesn’t believe in Santa!” Still, Edwards won’t snow on Downard’s Christmas parade. She’s gone eleven years and she won’t be stopping any time soon.