Lightbulb tradition set to usher in holiday season


File Photo from 2014

North Penn senior SGA members Maura McPeak and Emma Kopcho hang one of many strands of paper lightbulbs containing the names of every NP student and staff member. This photo captures the hanging of the lights in 2014, a tradition that has been in place at NPHS for over 20 years.

Unless you’re a senior at North Penn, chances are you haven’t walked the halls during the holidays. But pretty soon you will see the hallways filled with strings of paper lights, brightening the hallway with the names of students and staff at North Penn High School. 

Every year during the holidays, paper cut-outs of lights with everyone’s names are put up to decorate and bring cheer to the hallways. This tradition is run by the North Penn High School SGA.

“The light bulbs are officially an SGA event but we use class cabinet, sophomore, junior and senior, to help and then everyone is invited in terms of hanging the light bulbs after school,” teacher, junior class advisor, and SGA co-advisor Ms. Amy Young stated.

Getting these decorations around the school is easier said than done.

“SGA receives the list of the kids and all staff members, then we split the list between all cabinets. Then the kids have to cut the light bulbs, write the light bulbs, hole-punch the light bulbs and then eventually string the light bulbs,” Young stated.

Students will start to see their light bulbs hanging around the school very soon.

December 17th, after school they will be hung and then they will stay up until winter break. So on our last day of school which is the 23rd kids can take them down

— SGA co-advisor Ms. Amy Young

“December 17th, after school they will be hung and then they will stay up until winter break. So on our last day of school which is the 23rd kids can take them down,” Young explained

In a school as big as North Penn, there are a lot of different traditions but the light bulbs have been one of the most memorable.

“This has been a tradition that’s going on for over 20 years. What started as a small idea of how to make a large building small in the sense of including everyone in something…We have just kept it alive because it’s been so popular and kids love seeing it…It adds some holiday festivities to the building. It’s just a really neat way to a tradition going and a tradition that has been super embraced by kids over the years…I’ve had kids tell us that they hang them up in their college dorm rooms, just a little reminder of high school,” Young stated.

Only seniors have had the chance of having their names on the light bulbs from when they were sophomores so this tradition has even more meaning this year.

“It’s a big year because the senior class, we are realizing, are the only ones who have experienced many things. They’re the only ones to ever have the opportunity to go to a winter ball, a high school dance at this point… I think this year’s a little more special because it’s the first year we’ll be able to do this…This year is gonna be really special because two thirds of the building have never experienced this, so they don’t even know what it’s all about yet,” Young explained.

The light bulbs aren’t the only tradition resurfacing this year.

“On December 22nd we will be hosting our annual ugly sweater day. So it’s for staff and students and basically, everyone can wear their traditional ugly sweater…We do a contest, the kids send us pictures, we pick the ugliest sweaters and give them a little prize. So that is on the table to get finalized,” Young stated.

Covid has given everyone a newfound appreciation for everyday things just like school activities and old traditions brought back after a year without them.

“It’s like that saying ‘You don’t know what you got till it’s gone,’ I think we are realizing, at least all the advisors, when it comes to school events you don’t realize how important graduation was, I mean it’s such a big event, or proms or something as simple just light bulbs it’s still really special to everyone. So when you don’t have those things it’s like you realize how fun they are…It is a little more special in the sense of we realized we did so many things and then that was suddenly stopped,” Young said. 

But when you see your light bulb around the hallway make sure you appreciate that we are able to enjoy this tradition and the work that our SGA and class cabinets put in to spread a little kindness this time of year!