Spirit of Christmas Illuminates CUH


Ren Tachino

Over 50 students gathered on Wednesday night to watch Chaminade’s decorated campus light up.

On Wednesday night, over 50 members of the Chaminade community came together to celebrate the commencement of December. Holiday music echoed through the warm Hawaiʻi air as students reunited beneath the steps Clarence T. C. Ching Hall to witness the annual lighting of campus.

This tradition has been part of the Chaminade ohana for over 15 years. The Christmas lighting celebration was made possible by many departments on campus including facilities, Office of Student Activities and Leadership (OSAL), Student Life, and Campus Ministry. As a Catholic, Marianist institution, Dean Allison Jerome shared it is important for the university to recognize our Catholic heritage and celebrate Christmas.

“At this point in the semester, everybody is stressed and tired and just ready to go home and be done, and I think one of the best things about this event is that it kinda energizes people– the spirit of the Christmas season– to push through ‘til finals,” Jerome, the Dean of Students said. “It’s been a long semester. There’s been a lot to deal with and I think this is just a very positive, energetic thing and a way to bring the community together and it’s really nice to see so many students here … Our facilities staff did such a nice job decorating campus. It feels good when you see the lights go on.”

Kobe Ngirailemesang, OSAL’s social and multimedia specialist, led an opening prayer. Shortly after, Dr. Lynn Babington expressed words of encouragement as fall semester comes to a close. Babington told students “safe travels” and to “enjoy time with family” over winter break.

Sophomores Jannabel Bielza, Kiana Cruz, and Iris Hirata came to the festivity dressed in Christmas pajamas. Bielza, a Biology major, said she’s looking forward to catching up with her family over the holidays and Cruz, a Biochemistry major, said she’s excited to sleep in and reconvene with her friends who go to college on the mainland. Hirata’s family lives in Japan and she only sees them during summer and winter break.

“It’s very stress relieving knowing that Christmas is around the corner and it motivates me to do my work.” Hirata, a Biology major, said.

OSAL’s office and facilities manager, Celine Mesiona-Perez, coordinated the Christmas lighting revelry and handed out treats to the students. It was important for Perez to incorporate fellowship at the social because Covid-19 has “made it hard” for people to come together “despite how busy they are and be in the moment.”

“Christmas is mine and many people’s favorite time of year,” Mesiona-Perez, a fourth-year, said. “Because of my faith it’s more than just the presents, and as much as I love family, it’s more than that. I think it’s celebrating the person that means the most to me, which is Jesus, and the birth of Him. It’s remembering His life and all that He’s done for me and continues to do for me. So, a lot of times I think I still get distracted by the lights, and the trees… but at the end of the day when we’re opening gifts and the night is coming to an end, it’s just remembering who was born that day. That’s what [Christmas] means to me and remembering His love for me and then, in turn, loving others the way He loves me.”

The annual Christmas lighting was conducted virtually last year and several attendees mentioned this was the biggest turn out in over five years. 21-year-old Amber Sablan and her friends have been coming to the event every year since they were freshmen.

“It’s just something that me and my friends enjoy doing because it’s a tradition that we can fulfill for our four years and every year even though it’s the same thing, new people come in and it’s a new experience,” Sablan, a fourth-year, said. “This year, Celine did an amazing job of making this program and giving out goodie bags and since this is our last year, it’s just a good time to see our pictures over the years and appreciate it and look forward to seeing our families while spending time with friends.”