Romero Club ventures to Festival of Trees, raises money for Chesapeake Cancer Alliance

Romero Club ventures to Festival of Trees, raises money for Chesapeake Cancer Alliance

Junior Jessie Clingerman decorates the Romero Club’s tree in preparation for the 7th Annual Festival of Trees. The Festival of Trees took place from Nov. 23 to Nov. 25 at the Bel Air Armory.

Caitlin Wolfarth, News Editor

The Bel Air Armory is filled with Christmas spirit and eccentrically decorated Christmas trees.  The people gather around to admire and bid on trees ranging from miniature to seven feet tall.   Among the trees is JC’s “Christmas in Maryland,” decorated by the Romero Club.

The Romero Club, and other schools and businesses in Harford County, helped people prepare for Christmas by participating in the 7th Annual Festival of Trees at the Armory in Bel Air sponsored by the Chesapeake Cancer Alliance.

Each school or business that participated bought a tree, decorated it, and donated it to the festival.  Each decorated tree was then auctioned off.  Along with the trees, Christmas wreaths and gingerbread houses were up for sale.

All the trees at the festival were sold. The three-day event raised about $30,000 and a record number of 2,500 people attended.

The money raised at the festival went to support the Chesapeake Cancer Alliance.  This organization raises money for Upper Chesapeake’s Cancer Life Net Program, which helps to prevent and treat cancer.

Health teacher Tess Gauthier donated an artificial tree to the Romero Club.  With inspiration from Maryland Day during Spirit Week, seniors Becky Hottle and Susie Cumpston painted the tree skirt to look like the Maryland flag.

“Susie Cumpston and I made Maryland pants for spirit day and Mrs. Gauthier asked how we made them and I just offered to make the skirt because I like to paint,” Hottle said.  “Mrs. Strawbridge gave me a white skirt and I painted it with fabric paint.”

The Romero Club also hosted a bake sale at one of the home football games to raise money for other supplies. In addition to the tree skirt and the bake sale, JC students donated Ravens, Orioles, and other Maryland-themed ornaments to be hung on the tree.

A Baltimore Ravens Santa hat was used as a creative tree topper.  According to religion teacher and Romero Club moderator Rachel Harkins, the club spent around $90 on supplies.

According to Harkins, six club members spent an hour and a half at the Armory in Bel Air the Friday morning after Thanksgiving to decorate the tree and help set up.

According to Co-President of the Romero Club junior Jessie Clingerman, due to the lack of ornaments donated by the students, club members had to decorate ornaments there, using plain ornaments and glitter glue.

“In the future, I would like to get the school more involved in bringing decorations,” Clingerman said.  “We had to make ornaments there, it was pretty crazy.”

Also, the club was not informed that the festival was also a contest.  The trees were all voted on and a prize was given to the winner at the end.

“I would possibly like to win the prize next year,” Harkins said.

Despite these two minor problems, the Romero Club views the event as a success.

“I think [The Festival of Trees] was pretty successful,” Clingerman said.  “It is something I would definitely want to do in the future.”

“The Romero Club has definitely grown this year,” Harkins said.  “It was awesome to get out in the community and do something outside of JC.  It was also fun to see everyone over the Thanksgiving break.”

Caitlin Wolfarth is a News Editor for The Patriot and