Shoes for St. Nick

NHS, Student Council and German Club bring awareness to German holiday


Photo by Kaitlin Reynolds

The club members sit in Wildcat 1 cutting out and coloring the shoes for the teachers. “Since we went remote for the two days before Thanksgiving, our NHS meeting for that Tuesday was cancelled,” NHS Sponsor, Delanie Shult said. “We only meet twice a month, so Student Council and German Club took over coloring and making the shoes for each staff member. While NHS is attaching pieces of candy to the shoes and organizing them to be put into teachers’ mailboxes on Monday, December 7.”

Jasmine Hermosillo-Padilla, Editor-in-Chief Catalyst Online

At sundown on December 6 every year, most European countries celebrate the feast day of St. Nicholas in regards to his reputation as a bringer of gifts. In Germany, this holiday represents Saint Nick’s legacy that has been left behind from his selflessness, care of the needy and his generosity toward children.

Instead of hanging a stocking up like someone celebrating Christmas would do, German children leave their polished shoes outside of their homes for St. Nick to fill with treats. 

Student Council, German Club and National Honors Society took after this tradition by putting their own twist on the yearly event, since it is not a very well known holiday.

“I think it’s important to bring light to every holiday, so that we can make everyone feel included,” Student Council Co-President Rami Hanash said. “Showing respect for all holidays, not just the major ones, is huge for making everyone at West feel represented.”

This year, the club wanted to switch things up to emphasize the importance of culture awareness while incorporating a fun aspect to it that teachers could enjoy. 

“The Student Council is working with German Club and National Honors Society to make two-dimensional paper shoes that will be gifted to all the staff,” Student Council Co-President Olivia Edwards said. “The German Club wanted to incorporate something culturally relevant while also giving back to the teachers who have worked extra hard this year, especially with the pandemic.”

Traditionally, the shoes in Germany would be filled with treats, coins, small gifts and poems. These offerings often represent the spirit of the holiday season, and are meant to be shared with friends and family. For the club’s interpretation of the tradition, they decided to create the two-dimensional shoes to represent what the children would do, but just filled strictly with candy. 

The idea for this actually came from the Staff Engagement Committee to help raise spirits and do something nice for the staff during the holiday time,” National Honors Society sponsor Dealnie Shult said. “Myself, Mrs. Turner and Mrs. Bragg are all members of the Staff Engagement Committee, so we volunteered to have our clubs help with the activity as it would take some preparation to make and color shoes. With the end of the semester being a stressful time for teachers, we figured it would be easier if the students made the shoes to put in teachers’ mailboxes instead of teachers taking time to color and make their own shoes.”

With the holiday season approaching, the clubs wanted to make sure to spread awareness of other traditions that are not typically celebrated. 

We are trying to bring in other cultural traditions to our staff at West,” Shult said. “We want to make a fun and exciting holiday time before we go on break at the end of the semester.”

As a first year event, the members felt obligated to do something memorable that helped honor the holiday. 

The Student Council and German Club took over coloring and cutting out the actual shoes, while NHS is attaching various candies and organizing them to be put into teachers’ mailboxes. The shoes will be delivered and received by the teachers on Monday, December 7.