Maria, a 12th-grade student and coordinator of the Avenor Christmas Charity Fair, tells us what this tradition means to her.
Each year, as students bravely assume the responsibility of overseeing this large-scale event, it perseveres and enhances the Christmas spirit for all members of the community. For the Avenor Christmas Charity Fair, this spirit transcends mere goodies, hot chocolate, games, and carols—it embodies something more profound.
Two years ago, around this time, Cate, then a senior in the 12th grade and the coordinator of the Avenor Christmas Charity Fair, suggested that I take over the organisation of this project alongside Clara.
This summer, I found myself in a similar position, suggesting to Sonia and Ana, both 10th-grade students, that they take over the coordination of the fair that binds us all together.
Avenor Christmas Charity Fair, a tradition of the Avenor community now in its seventh edition, is the project that helped me discover myself. In middle school, when the fair meant only the Christmas spirit, hot chocolate, and the prizes I could win at the stands scattered around the campus, I dreamed. I dreamed that one day I would be in the position of the high school students in the organising team who, on the day of the fair, rushed around with a lot of work. Although I had my personal projects that took up a lot of my time, I still hoped that, miraculously, I would one day be running around the campus in December as the organiser of one of the most beloved events.
Time has passed, and in the 11th grade, Clara and I became the coordinators of the Avenor Christmas Charity Fair. Driven by the memory of the child within us who would have jumped for joy at such news, we started working on it since September. And not alone, because organising the fair involves having a united and strong team by your side, working side by side.
The 2022 edition had six departments of specialists behind it. Each team had its own responsibilities. Beyond what was planned, there came the unplanned, surprising, and unimaginable, for the seventh-grade child who once wished to become the organiser of the Christmas fair. Communicating with the association we chose to support, coordinating with the school’s leadership team to create a fair schedule that ensured the safety and enjoyment of all students on campus, and inviting the community are just a few aspects that pushed us to the limit.
All the fatigue, all the work, and all the glitter that entered our eyes as we made decorations for the fair were forgotten and didn’t matter anymore when the Avenor Christmas Charity Fair opened. On December 20th, at 1:00 PM, hundreds of children swarmed the stands, with the favourites being those filled with treats.
I admit that during the fair, I didn’t know if it was a successful event or not, and if the other participants were enjoying it as much as I was until the moment I looked at the pictures. Seeing children with whipped cream on their noses, faces hidden behind cotton candy, and arms full of prizes won at the stands, I felt fulfilled and realised that I had become one of the high school students I used to watch years ago, running wildly through the fair. And this experience made me relive the joy from the 7th grade.
With the conclusion of the 2022 edition, after the stands were dismantled and stored for the next year, I knew, with a knot in my stomach, that it was time to prepare to pass the baton. After my own investigations and consulting with the teachers around me, I knew that Ana and Sonia were the most suitable persons to carry on the tradition.
This year’s edition, I organised it alongside them, being very motivated to have a memorable event. It was my last fair as an Avenor student and the main organiser, and for them, it was their first experience as coordinators.
I took into account everything I learned from the organising experience of last year, and Ana and Sonia adapted, learned, and gradually took over the responsibility.
Discussing with Adelina Toncean, the founder of the Asociația Blondie our charitable cause for this year, we realised together that what we are doing is not just student led projects, nor just a joy for Avenor students eagerly awaiting the fair. It is an opportunity for life that we can offer to severely ill babies. And the feeling that this thought gives you cannot be defined and exceeds any expectation.
Although it’s hard for me to think that next year, at this time, I’ll be at college in another country or even on another continent, I’m already looking forward to the moment when I can come back to see Ana and Sonia in action. Then, as the years go by, I’m excited to see the other coordinators of this beautiful tradition, hoping it continues with the enthusiasm that Maria from the 7th grade had when participating in the Charity Fair.