The last social activity of the year for Rice Intensive English Program students was a holiday party followed by a trip to the Houston Zoo Lights. We closed the year with a bang! Students gathered in the Dean’s Commons to eat pizza and sing holiday carols. After a collective rendition of “Jingle Bells”, a group of energized students hit the dance floor and moved to Latin rhythms like merengue.
The celebratory mood carried on when, one hour later, students and teachers boarded a classic yellow school bus that took them to the Zoo Lights. For some students, it brought back childhood memories of riding the school bus in their home countries, while for others it was a symbol of the American way of life. The bus ride was a perfect opportunity to share special stories and celebrate togetherness. There were sparkles of joy and anticipation in the cool December air.
The Zoo Lights were spectacular! Throughout the holiday season, over 24 km of LED lighting illuminate the zoo’s historic oak trees, line its pathways and bring to life curious animal shapes. A remarkable group of over sixty students and teachers managed to stay together while they meandered across the monumental structures and shimmering designs. Students at the beginner levels of English were leading the bunch with their vibrancy and cheer. The chilly weather provided the perfect ambiance for the holiday-themed activity and made it a necessity to indulge in a cup of hot chocolate. As a perfect close to the festive evening, students met Santa and Mrs. Claus. A few may even have told him what presents they want to find under the tree!
When asked what was his favorite thing at Zoo Lights, one student said, “I saw a giraffe with wonderful friends”! What more can one ask for? From all of us at the Intensive English Program, we wish all our friends and followers a wonderful and magical holiday season!
Author: Milagros Lugo-Amador, Assistant Director