William Winchester students get in the holiday spirit with McDaniel Winter Story Night

A small group of children sat in the third floor of Merritt Hall listening to “Cinders: A Chicken Cinderella,” “It's Christmas, David!” and “My first Kwanzaa.”

Some children came in holiday-themed outfits as they waited to hear a variety of books. The night included stories about different holidays — from Christmas to Hanukkah to Kwanzaa — arts and crafts, a trip to the college’s holiday light show and even a visit from Santa.


McDaniel senior Alex Stitely, of Westminster, said the Kappa Delta Pi education honors society wanted to hold a Winter Story Night, and invited William Winchester Elementary School students and their families.

“I just wanted to do something to give back to the community,” Stitely said.

Stitely said she’d done a similar event in high school at North Carroll High, and wanted to try it again at McDaniel. The night was great for kids, she said, because they had books about so many different types of people and holidays that the kids get to learn about other cultures and traditions.

Robin Townsend, McDaniel’s coordinator of Teacher Professional Development, said she thought it was the first time KDP had done something like this event. KDP partnered with William Winchester because they have some student teachers there, and it’s close to the college, she said.

Townsend said they were a little worried about what turnout would be like, because there was no RSVP, but that, for the first time doing this, they got a nice amount of people.

It’s great that KDP held the event, she said, because it allows future teachers to practice a lot of their teaching skills. And, it worked well to do the event during the holidays, so they could pair it with the college’s light show.

“Giving back to the community is always a good thing,” she added.

For families who came out Friday night, it was a chance to start off the holiday season and spend some time together.

Robin Varhaftik came out with her daughters, Becca, 10, and Anabel, 8. Varhaftik said she liked that they read a lot of different types of books, adding that her children are part Jewish.

She said they don’t do a lot of story times, but it was a great chance to come out to McDaniel’s campus. And, it is just one more way to get the kids excited for Christmas, she added.

It’s great to do activities that create that special feeling the entire holiday season, Varhaftik said.

“It’s just a fun, family event,” she added.

For Scott Brooke and his two sons, Friday’s holiday-themed story time let the kids tap into some other creative skills, through the story time and the arts and crafts. In addition to the story time, kids were able to color holiday-themed pictures and make snowflakes.

And, Brooke said, it’s different than the other activities they often do, like sports, he said.


“It just gives our kids a chance to get out of the house and to do things that they like,” he added.