‘Winterfest’ Decorating Contest Spreads Cheer At NMS

Published: December 23, 2018 at 07:00 am


Newtown Middle School students and staff participated in a Winterfest Door Decorating Contest that spread ornamental joy down a main hallway at the school for the week of December 10.

NMS paraprofessional Carmen Riddle implemented and oversaw the contest. Students and staff were challenged to decorate a long paper that could be used to cover a door. Door decorators were instructed to follow a festive theme.

“Ready for winter?” the Winterfest Door Decorating Contest handout read. “Let’s make the hallways to NMS festive this December.”

Teams could be made up of four students and two staff members or one staff member and three students. The decorations were hung in the hallway leading to the cafeteria by December 10, when judging began. Judges were asked to choose the funniest door, the most creative door, the judge’s favorite door, a grand prize winner, and a winning staff-decorated door. First Selectman Dan Rosenthal, Newtown Police Department School Resource Officer (SRO) William Chapman, school nurse Andrew Trager, PTA President Melissa Beylouni, and Derby High School faculty member Jenn Moffat judged the entries. As Mr Rosenthal and Officer Chapman inspected the entries on December 10, Ms Riddle explained she was inspired to hold the contest at NMS because she, too, created a door decoration in a contest in middle school.

The NMS teams worked after school the week of December 3 to create their entries, and some teams took their door decoration entries home to work on over the weekend of December 7. Then on Monday, the halls were decorated. Teams drew or cut out characters from holiday movies or shows, depicted winter scenes, and used bright colors. Glitter, lights, and 3D elements were plentiful.

The winning decorations were announced on December 11. The funniest door went to team 15 — Alison Bottone, Abi DaRocha, and teacher Kim Pereira. The entry depicted the character of Buddy from the movie Elf eating breakfast.

The most creative door award went to team 14 — Alyssa Beatrice, Eleanor Cruwys-Hayes, Annika Utsogn, and teacher Elizabeth Stevens. The entry had a Willy Wonka theme, and it showed the Wonka Chocolate factory at the end of a long walkway behind a gate.

The judge’s favorite door was created by team 18 — Keeley Green, Rachael Shepard, and teacher Kevin Eppley. The decoration included a 3D snow globe.

The grand prize-winning entry was by team five — Nick D’Amico, Connor Sinapi, and Spencer Jorgenson. The entry depicted a snowy landscape with figures participating in winter sports.

Art teachers Leigh Anne Coles and Kristen Ladue, team 23, won for staff entries. The duo’s door had a 3D tree and characters from the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer television special.

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