As Christmas approaches, Malvern tries to maintain tradition in an untraditional year

Many of Malvern’s long-standing Christmas traditions have either been cancelled or postponed, while the school tries to continue it’s yearly celebration mid-pandemic.

Joe Lister, Editor-in-Chief

For Assistant Head of School for Student Leadership Mr. Ron Algeo, this Christmas is about what Malvern can, and cannot, celebrate as a community.

“We were in this progression, what events can we get done in person, what events do we have to shift to online, what do we have to move to another time of the year,” Algeo said. “I can [say] that there’s a few things that we’re working on to bring to fruition. Certainly in this setting has been really super super difficult, we are prepared to do some things in person and live.”

Algeo has had to decide what specific events Malvern has been able to hold in-person for its community, and has also needed to cut many traditions from the Christmas event lineup.

“Up until three weeks ago we were looking at a Christmas concert with some performances, possibly being outside, not necessarily in Duffy,” he said. “The concerts we had to cancel this because we want to be able to do that in front of families, and have a lot of guests on campus, just really causes some problems.”

“We have an alumni Christmas party that we’ve always traditionally done, called the Father Duffy Christmas Party where we would honor faculty members who have been here for 25 years… We did cancel the Father Duffy Christmas party. And we’re going to try to find a way to honor the 25 year faculty members later this spring,” Algeo continued.

Director of Student Life Dr. James Fry has been working to create a virtual showcase of much of Malvern’s traditional events as COVID-19 cases rise and Malvern considers what events will be held in-person.

Events such as the Christmas Tree Lighting, the Christmas Mass, Band and Choral Concerts, and the Winter play, “A Christmas Carol”, have all been videotaped and are due to be sent out to the community.

“I think you’re trying to not overdo all the videos that are going out, but also, that’s a way of getting some of these holiday traditions out,” Fry said.

Working alongside Algeo and Fry has been Student Council President Fran Oschell ’21, who has seen many traditional Student Council events go out the window.

“For Christmas, the student council always runs the dodgeball tournament. We had been working hard to make that happen, but with the recent updates in COVID guidelines, we were told we could no longer do it,” he said.

“Normally, we have the Christmas Talent Show the day before leaving for Christmas break. However, we are unable to do it this year,” Oschell continued. “It is hard to tell what it will look like in the future because there is so much still unknown.”

Malvern had also planned a Christmas celebration on December 18th, students’ last day before Winter Break. The event, which usually was celebrated by the whole school, was originally trimmed down for just the senior class this year due to safety concerns. 

However, after much of the senior class was told to quarantine after a M.E.C.O. retreat, Malvern elected to cancel the entire day. 

“This was a day designed to celebrate with Seniors,” Algeo said in an email to the Class of 2021. “Because we have 30% of our Senior class who will not be able to be present this Friday, we felt it was better to postpone the festivities until a time this Winter/Spring when we can all be together.”