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Faculty, Staff Celebrate the Holidays

With beautiful fresh greenery from the forest and the addition of an impressive new mantel above the crackling fireplace, Baird Lounge was transformed for Berea College's annual employee/retiree Christmas reception on December 7.

Some of the decorations at Baird Lounge.

"It's always a pleasure to plan and put one of these events on for the employees, cause it's such a great time to get everyone together," said Carolyn Castle, director of People Services. The lounge was made warm and festive by the decorations, and had a homespun, old-fashioned look that brought to mind the early days of the college, 150 years before.

Castle and others worked diligently for a day and a half to get everything set up in the lounge, but arranging and organizing the decorations, greenery and trees took many weeks before that. The mantelpiece, a nine-foot piece of walnut, was made by Berea College Woodcraft. The wrought iron supports were made by Jeff Farmer. Castle commented on how the mantel was "really spectacular," and that looked like it had always been there. "Who said you can't teach a building a new trick?" says Castle.

The mantel was then decked out with candles, ribbon, holly and fresh greenery, and the theme continued around the room. There was a fresh wreath over the fireplace and a twinkling arrangement of woven grapevines and boughs hanging over the banquet table. Catering at the reception was provided by Food Services, and entertainment was provided by the Staff/Faculty Choir and a "small band of music makers" from the college and community, including Chuck Turner, Andy McKinney, Steve McCollum, Lederrick Wesley, Zach Walker and Cody Moore.

Five hundred retirees, staff and members of the faculty were invited to attend. All attendees were given a small wooden cutout ornament from the Christmas tree; the wood was carved to resemble the college's sesquicentennial logo. The ornaments were a gift from the People's Bank of Madison County in honor of Berea's 150 years.

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