Our Demon family has returned from winter break well-rested and ready to take on another semester. Though holiday traditions such as the Natchitoches Christmas Festival remained relatively unchanged, the pandemic put a certain level of restriction on how the festive season was celebrated.
“I talked to several students who let me know that it was more ‘low key’ than in the past,” Northwestern State University President, Dr. Chris Maggio said.
Many members of the NSU community adhered to the COVID-19 protocols and generally only attended small gatherings.
Maggio stated students were able to enjoy more quality time with family as a result of the current circumstances. Maggio believes winter break was successful for faculty and students alike.
However, many international students were not allowed to go home and see their families like they were in previous years.
Diana Marcela Mercado Garcia, a freshman pursuing two degrees in fine and graphic arts and dance, said she spent her winter break in Natchitoches because she could not be with her family in her home country.
“At least my brother, who is living in Texas, traveled from there to be with me so I did not have to spend my first holidays in the U.S. alone,” Garcia said.
In spite of the restrictions, Garcia was grateful to be able to celebrate the holidays with her brother.
Even with the restrictions in place, some students and faculty were still able to travel for the holidays. Dr. Rondo Keele, associate professor at the Louisiana Scholars’ College, was able to visit his in-laws in Egypt.
“It was a bit crazy flying with the COVID precautions in place, more paperwork and more discomfort than usual,” Keele said.
Even though he jumped through more than a few hoops to get there, he said his visit to Egypt was worthwhile.
In spite of the current circumstances, NSU students were able to celebrate the holiday season as they knew how.