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Roanoke Rapids Graded School District enjoyed our first Christmas at the Castle Tuesday. 

This special event started as an idea of Phil Hux, president of the Roanoke Rapids High School Alumni and Friends, over the summer.

Like many in our community, Mr. Hux has a special love of and pride in our Roanoke Rapids High School. 

When he brought the idea to a board meeting of the Alumni and Friends, he set a vision for how beautiful the school would look being lit up with candles, adorned with decorations, and celebrated with music from the band and chorus and a visit from Santa. 

The Alumni and Friends board jumped right in and started to set plans in motion.

Tuesday truly lit up Hamilton Street as Mr. Hux’s vision was brought to life.

Gallery photos by Cindy Garris Boone

Spectators lined the sidewalks to watch each of the Roanoke Rapids High School Senior Building’s windows light up with candles. 

Prior to the lighting, Mr. Hux welcomed everyone. The Roanoke Rapids High School Chorus, under the leadership of Choral Director Denise Hackenburg, sang and the Jingle Bell Jackets of the Roanoke Rapids High School band, under the leadership of the director of bands Laura Avery Manning, played beautiful Christmas carols on the front steps of the building.

Spectators were able to purchase commemorative Christmas at the Castle mugs with delicious hot chocolate, Roanoke Rapids High School ornaments, Christmas at the Castle T-shirts, and cookies. 

Proceeds raised from these sales benefitted the band and the chorus. 

The front of the building was adorned with beautiful garland and wreaths, two lovely fireplaces, and a festive alumni Christmas tree. 

Alumni were encouraged to write their name and graduation year on a glass plate ornament to place on the Christmas tree. 

Following the lighting, we had a special visit from Santa Claus, who came through the front door of the high school and took pictures with children and adults alike in a beautiful wooden sleigh built by Nick Manning. 

We were delighted to have the Maverick 102.3 radio on-site for a remote broadcast with Allen Garrett and Matt Hux.

 If you were not able to join us in person this year and want to see pictures, I encourage you to visit Class of 1979 Cindy Garris Boone’s Facebook page for her Christmas at the Castle album. Throughout the years, Cindy has amassed a wealth of information about Roanoke Rapids High School and taken beautiful pictures of it throughout each of the seasons. 

In a world where social media is not always positive, Cindy’s Facebook page brings positivity and I always learn something new about our great school!

We are grateful for our sponsors: Halifax County Convention and Visitors Bureau and Lowe’s Home Improvement. 

We are also thankful for the hard work of our Roanoke Rapids Alumni and Friends and Roanoke Rapids High School staff and students who have worked so hard to plan this special evening from the envisioning process through the behind-the-scenes planning details through the performances that night through the wonderful crowd participation. 

It really takes a village to put on something as special as this night, and I would be remiss if I did not publicly thank both Laura Manning and Mandy Clark for all of their hard work behind the scenes to make this event go off so smoothly. 

Getting four floors of candles set up and coordinated to turn on at the same time is not an easy task, but Mandy and Laura took it and ran with it to make sure the night was a success! It was such a special way to begin the holiday break!

 We are all so very proud of our Roanoke Rapids High School. We are excited to showcase it as well as to partner with the Roanoke Rapids High School Alumni and Friends, the Halifax County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Lowe’s Home Improvement to spread holiday cheer throughout the community. 

We hope this is the first year in a new tradition of Christmas at the Castle.