Every year St. Stephen’s students are invited to write holiday-themed poems about their experiences on The Hill — the best of which is shared with the larger school community.
This year the poem by 11th grade boarding student Linda Liu was selected by the English department and administrators as the best piece. However, all the other entries were so wonderful, we wanted to share them with the school community as well. We hope they bring you great joy throughout the holiday season.
Congratulations to Linda Liu and all the other Spartan poets featured below!
When cold wind wraps like blankets around warm hearts,
we gather on The Hill in joy to pray
for snow to permeate the air like feathers
and land on the glorious, venerable bricks
beside the cross. Lo, carols, wake the day
with healing fragrance. Gifts in shiny coats
take wing from palm to palm. Hark!
Feliz Navidad, Happy New Year, and Chun jie kuai le too —
the greetings weave into a symphony
of joy. The classrooms, dorms, and fields all teem
with laughter. Come, these days we do not fear.
Let us join hands!
—Linda Liu, 11th Grade
The night sky darkens as the candles are lit,
Creating a hearth, warming all who surround it.
The choir leads, and the congregation follows,
Singing the hymns of our sacred tradition.
As the celebration continues, the hearth grows stronger,
With each lesson, the love increases,
Until the night ends, and the festivity ceases.
Yet, no matter where you stand, a hilltop is visible.
Look up! And you will see, our hilltop is blazing!
Spreading love and joy throughout the earth,
It is our sacred holiday hearth.
—Isabella Villarreal, 11th Grade
Upon an unassuming hill sits a community
Protected by Gabriel, Abraham, and Solomon alike —
the brick and mortar chapel welcomes all that seek its infinite knowledge.
Candle light illuminates the shadowy ground
Do you hear the carols?
is the wind whispering? or is it the prayers of the lost and found?
In the stillness of winter, the community on the hill sings
the sweet melody of forgotten and ancient prayers.
Armed with knowledge of what once was and what could be,
the shadow of the night disappears without a trace
Do you see the North Star?
is it an angel? or is it a beacon of grace?
—Rose Danuser, 11th Grade
Listen! Hear the silver bells, the glorious voices
As they join in songs of praise on this holiday night.
On this blessed night, the sky has gone still.
A coat of black drapes over the heavens.
The stars pierce the sky with a gentle glow,
Forming an outline of the little chapel.
Cherry-red candles light the way,
Illuminating a path, a path home.
Seeker! Do not go astray.
We invite you to stay.
We pray for you on this holy night.
We are all family here.
—Hannah Simmonds, 8th Grade
On this day, we Spartans pray,
That the star above the chapel stay,
The star that guided the wise men, three,
That led them to the holy family.
The star that shines ever so bright,
Lighting up the cold black night.
We listen to the rustling trees,
The soft sound of a winter breeze.
Your beautiful world brings us closer to you.
—Caroline Cloyd, 6th Grade
Snow is falling everywhere,
Softly flowing in the air.
Don’t you think it’s very merry,
Very fun, and very cheery
Now that the holidays are here?
Winter’s here, close and near,
Trees all white,
Filled with light
As we welcome the new year.
Today we Spartans pray
That you have a happy, jolly
—Annie Ehrlich, 6th Grade
Within the deep abyss of Christmas night
The shining north star glows like a lighthouse in my heart
To guide my way to the joys of holidays
Lighthouse, bring me to the Hill.
The trees laugh and dance to Christmas carols
The billowing wind their precious melody
All the trees come together to dance and sing
No matter their breed or kind
Trees, lead me to the Hill.
This school is my sanctuary
My heart, my love, my sacred place
Lord, take me to my home.
—Jocelyn Hoenicke, 8th Grade
"Joy to the world, the Lord is come"
Hear our prayers, our psalms, our hymns
that resonate around this sacred chapel
where we gather, our community unites
With frozen icicles lining our roofs,
powdery snow, bundled in trees
Evergreen leaves turn white in the cold
Through the spirit of the holidays, let us pray
May we remember, to give not take
Though this holiday will end, a new year will begin
It's a magical season, a time for peace
A chance for forgiveness, a chance for a chance
—Audrey Wan, 7th Grade
My Second Home
Singing the almighty power of God,
Thee brought me warmth of hopes;
Grinning a passionate welcome of man,
Thee presented me pleasure of love.
Legends of Spartans
Lightly renew my mundane lives
Like a drop of dew, falls from eaves to leaves,
Like a piece of petal, under the cover of the fragrant morning.
Chanting hymns with the voice of cantors,
Thy Beauty on the hill haunted my soul;
Wearing garments with the color of violet,
Thy Beauty on the hill founded a home.
—Yolanda Zheng, 10th Grade