The Student News Site of Ripon High School

The Smoke Signal

The Student News Site of Ripon High School

The Smoke Signal

The Student News Site of Ripon High School

The Smoke Signal

Lighting up the Hearts of Many


Hot chocolate, bright lights, and carols all around marked Ripon’s Annual Christmas Tree Lighting this year in honor of fallen veterans. The popular community event, started in 2014 when the tree was first planted, takes place at the Veterans’ Memorial Park on the corner of First Street and Locust Avenue.


Ripon’s Chamber of Commerce puts on the successful event every year. Many families stood in line throughout the night to take pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus as they handed out candy. 

Seven-year-old Jack Patterson, says, “I loved seeing Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus and the hot chocolate was good. It was so awesome!”

This year, families and friends came together to share cookies and hot chocolate while listening to Ripon High’s Band and Choir perform. Music teacher Geoffory Felver believes his classes can bring joy to the events and many others. When the Chamber of Commerce asked if they could play, he couldn’t say no. 

“One of my missions is bringing music to our community,” Felver says, “so this is exactly what I want to be on this planet for.”

Though both choir and band were down a few members, they played well and put on an amazing performance. Choir sang “Silver Bells”, “Joy to the World”, “Silent Night”, “Carol of the Bells”, and many other classic Christmas songs. Junior Angelina Rivara states, “It’s wonderful to see the whole community show up to see the tree lighting and to support the choir and band as we perform.” Rivara loves putting on a show for the community because of all the little kids who find the music fascinating. 

McKinley Patterson, 10, attending Ripon Elementary, states, “I liked seeing the musicians play their instruments because, I myself, I play the clarinet, so it’s cool seeing they can play so well. Plus, Santa loved my beard hat.”

As the countdown begins at 7 p.m., everyone gathers around the tree to watch it light up. 2023’s Miss Ripon, Ava Brocchini, has the privilege to light up the tree for the community. Mothers take pictures of their children when the lights come on, and the whole crowd is filled with a happy buzz.


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About the Contributor
Hailey Williford
Hailey Williford, Community Editor
Hailey Williford is a junior at RHS. Williford is an honors/AP student who has played tennis for Ripon High for two years and was the 1st seed on JV her sophomore year. Williford is a volunteer photographer for the Ripon Farmers Market and a volunteer writer for the Ripon Magazine. In her free time, she listens to music, sings, writes, and reads. In the future, Williford plans to attend college and travel the world in hopes of learning new languages and teaching others. Williford's favorite quote is, "I don't know how I'll feel when I'm dead, but I don't want to regret the way I lived." She thinks living in the moment makes life more enjoyable and it's best to go forward in life with an open mind. You can always turn a situation around and see the positive side.

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