Baylor School of Nursing begins holiday season with tree lighting

Baylor's holiday traditions continue at the Louise Herrington School of Nursing in Dallas. Photo courtesy of Whitney Cortner

By Ana Ruiz Brictson | Staff Writer

At noon on Monday, Baylor’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON) celebrated its traditional tree lighting event to kick off the start of the Christmas season.

The nursing school holds various traditions throughout the holidays for students, faculty and staff to participate in.

According to Monica Mullins, director of student services, this tradition began in 2018, which was the first Christmas they spent in their academic building. The nursing school staff decorates the Christmas tree before leaving for Thanksgiving break, then advertises Monday’s event — where they will also offer food for lunch — to students, faculty and staff.

“I feel especially great this year because we had the opportunity to announce our brand new BEARS DEN!” Mullins said via email. “This is a fun lounge space that has been designed for our students.”

The area is available for students to use the full 24 hours a day, complete with ping pong and foosball tables, big bean bag chairs, tables, soft chairs and board games.

Another celebration that is only open for the nursing school’s faculty and staff is one that was started by staff member Wendy Craver in 2009. She, along with staff member Elizabeth Calverley, bring hot apple cider from the Monday after Thanksgiving break until the Friday before commencement.

“My first year of employment at BU LHSON was an especially difficult year,” Craver said via email. “My husband lost his job and had to have major brain surgery, and my mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer. This all happened within two months of Christmas. The love and support that the faculty and staff showered on me as a new employee was something I will never forget.”

Craver said that is how the cider tradition began at LHSON; bringing cider that first year was her way of repaying and showing her appreciation for the faculty and staff who helped her that Christmas.

“The faculty and staff love the cider,” Craver said. “They start asking around Halloween when the cider will be available.”

She said everyone was especially ready for the cider this year since they had to skip it last year due to COVID-19. Craver said her favorite part about this tradition is how much Calverley and she appreciate working as well as the family they have at LHSON.

Dallas senior and nursing major Taylor Becker said via email this semester has been a refreshing reminder of Baylor before COVID-19. She said that she has enjoyed her clinical rotations and the events at LHSON but that it has been a blessing for her to be in person with her cohort and other students on other levels.

“I feel that LHSON has such a strong community that fosters faith, encouragement and joy,” Becker said. “I absolutely love that we are encouraged to serve our patients from all walks of life.”

Becker also said the LHSON students, faculty and staff inspire her daily to love others more intentionally. To her, it is a sweet opportunity for nursing students to get to meet patients, as she has met some who have touched her heart and taught her what it means to live.

“I can’t imagine a more fulfilling way to build relationships with others,” Becker said.

Becker said that after a restful Thanksgiving, she is prepared for the last few lectures and clinicals before finals.

“Overall, I’m grateful for the experiences and new friendships this semester has held, and I’m excited to start level three in the spring!” Becker said.