January 8, 2021
Cypress Springs High School administration and staff, along with Cypress Springs band students, record a segment for the virtual holiday celebration that was shared with the Cypress Springs community. (Photo by Evy Vinh, Cypress Springs HS)
By Mya Banks, Cypress Springs HS
Jan. 8, 2021—Cypress Springs High School Assistant Principal Diana Bell, in collaboration with campus organizations, organized a digital holiday celebration to bring holiday cheer to students, staff and the community via video.
“The Cypress Springs holiday ‘greeting card’ was an opportunity created to bring holiday cheer from Panther nation to our community, since our community can’t come to us,” Bell said. “With so many changes in place due to COVID-19, and safety protocols in place, our community was not able to share in the experience that’s traditional such as holiday musicals, plays and concerts. I along with the admin brainstormed ideas that would be safe to share with the community in keeping up with tradition while enhancing school culture.”
Bell worked with administration and staff to organize the entire event, which included choir, band and video production. Cypress Springs teacher Carlton Thompson’s video production class edited all the content together for a complete digital holiday video.
The celebration began on Dec. 15 with a performance of an original song titled “Merry Christmas Panthers” sung by Cypress Springs teacher Dibiahsi Ray and administrators. Ray also sang a modified version of “The Twelves Days of Christmas.”
“I got my inspiration for the song(s) based on how this entire year has been different,” Ray said. “‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ was written referencing Cy Springs students and staff, the culture of our school community, and what we all have overcome especially with changes academically and socially. ‘Merry Christmas Panthers’ derived from the original song by Otis Redding ‘Merry Christmas Baby,’ again with Panther staff and students in mind.”
Followed by the first musical performance, the second performance of “Feliz Navidad” consisted of administration, the Cypress Springs jazz band and cafeteria and custodial staff.
“One thing I like about jazz band is that even in times like this where it can be hard for us to come together, we can always adapt and figure out other ways to bring our school together,” said senior baritone saxophone player Christian Medina.
Cypress Springs High School head girls’ soccer coach Caitlin Behne surprised her team with a video message from U.S. Soccer Women’s National Team legend Mia Hamm. The video was Behne’s holiday present to the team.
In addition to the holiday celebration, Caitlin Behne, Cypress Springs head girls’ soccer coach and World History teacher, joined in on the holiday festivities by surprising the team with a personalized video message from U.S. women’s soccer legend Mia Hamm.
“I wanted to get the girls a Christmas gift that was a bit different this year,” Behne said. “I had them watch the ‘Dare to Dream’ documentary about the U.S. Women’s National Team in the 1990s, so I knew they would know who Mia Hamm is, and how important she was/is to women’s soccer. The girls were shocked. They initially didn’t say much, but once they were able to process what they had watched they were really excited. One of them even said she was going to watch it before every game so she could feel inspired. It was cool to share one of my heroes with them.”