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CTC holds inaugural Lighting of the Bell Tower


Cove Leader-Press


Hundreds cheered as Central Texas College Foundation (CTC) lit up the night on Tuesday, as CTC held its Inaugural Lighting of the Bell Tower Tuesday. 

CTC Chancellor Jim Yeonopolus officially lit the Bell Tower, simultaneously lighting all of the college’s decorations making the campus truly a sight to behold.

After the lighting, guests could enjoy free cookies and hot chocolate while supplies lasted, visit with Santa Claus, and listen to the CTC Choir and CTC band. Both the band and choir performed outside by the Bell Tower as well as inside the Sue & Frank W. Mayborn Science Theater. Snacks and refreshments were provided inside the theater. For a fee, they could also attend the Candlelight Concert which featured a performance by Trevor Helt.

The festivities were a one-day only event, but CTC will continue to allow people to walk through to check out the lighted displays for themselves until January 2.

“This is our inaugural event. It was created to bring the community out,” said Valerie Payson, Executive Director of College Development and Foundation. “We just wanted to do something fun for the holiday season…They can visit Santa. We have cookies and hot cocoa, and they can take a stroll through the mall area to see the displays…The CTC Choir and the Band will be performing, and after this, there’s a VIP Candle Concert that’s sponsored by KNCT.”

Payson and Wendy Martel came up with the idea for the event, and William Duggar and his crew created and set up all of the displays.

Money raised by the event will go back towards CTC student scholarships. 

This year, they had 800+ students apply for scholarships with 600 qualifying. Initially, they only had enough money for 300 scholarships, but chose to work hard to raise money so that they were ultimately able to grant scholarships to all 600 applicants.

“I think it’s fabulous,” said Payson. “I’m so excited. A lot of hard work went into this…This is going to be an annual event and it’ll keep growing from here. We hope that people will come out and enjoy it.”

The event was a big success with an audience full of excited people cheering at the lighting and going to explore and check out the displays afterward.

“We really wanted to go way out, and Valerie jumped on it and took the bull by the horns and converted the whole campus into a mini BLORA…BLORA you drive through, this you walk through,” said Chancellor Yeonopolus. “You stroll through and there are things lit up all over the campus…There’s angels, snowmen, Santa Claus, all kinds of things.”

“It was pretty cool,” said Dominique Herrera who brought his children BamBam (4) and Zombie (5) to watch the lighting of the Bell Tower. “They definitely loved it. The Santa kiosk was super cool. Very well done.”

Zombie said that she really liked getting to see Santa.

“I love it all. Everything is so nice,” said Georgina DaVilla who brought her children Victoria (5) and Miquel (10) DaVilla to the event.

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