By: Follow South Jersey Staff
CAMDEN, N.J. — Camden’s Charter School Network (CCSN) is brightening the neighborhood and spirits this holiday season by presenting its inaugural The Joy of Lights show.
The show is now open for anyone to drive by or park and walk around on Mondays – Fridays from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. through mid-January.
Special show times for a drive-in movie sing-along are on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at 5:00, 6:15, and 7:30 p.m. The drive-in movie sing-along is free to the public, but visitors are asked to sign up for the show in advance, park in our lot, watch the show, then walk around our Winter Wonderland.
“This was an idea that came about after our Haunted Halloween Drive-through,” Dr. Joseph Conway, Superintendent of CCSN schools, which include Camden’s Pride Elementary, Katz-Dalsey Elementary, Camden’s Promise Middle, and Camden Academy High charter schools, said. “The success of that program began the immediate planning of a holiday celebration of lights.”
Conway said that the need to feel a sense of community is important, especially during the pandemic.
“We need to be a community now more than ever as we isolate in the COVID-19 pandemic,” Conway said. “We thought that this would allow people to come together no matter their faith and belief in a Joy of Lights celebration.”
With over 150,000 lights covering the city’s Cramer Hill section property, the space has been transformed into a Winter Wonderland with different themed areas using blow-ups, lights, and even diffusers spill magic aromas into the night.
“We recognize that people are tired of the restrictions caused by Covid-19 and so this light show is our way of providing some relief to our students, staff and community in a safe way,” Conway said. “The drive through vehicle allows for social distancing and safety while still being a community.”
Camden’s Pride Elementary Charter School principal Christa Hahn said that the light show helps students and parents to continue to feel connected to the school while classes are being taught virtually.
“We are looking for something to continue our sense of connection to our students,” Hahn said. “Although we may not be able to have them in our building, we can still send the message that we care about them and are thinking of them. By gifting this little bit of holiday spirit, our students will know how much we miss them and how important they are to us. It’s our way of wishing them well through these different times.”
Parents have said how much they appreciate what the school is doing. Camden’s Pride parent Carmen Diaz said that her three girls loved the show. “Geylin enjoyed her birthday to see the beautiful lights in the school. Thanks for all the beautiful decorations,” Carmen said.
Conway stated that the show has been seen by hundreds of people driving by. “We have over 200 cars registered for our drive in movie this week,” he said.
The Joy of Lights Show is on the campus of Camden’s Pride and Camden’s Promise located at 879 Beideman Avenue in Camden. To register for the drive-in sing along, visitors are asked to go to https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0d4bada922a5fdc52-winter.
“If we have been able to provide any family a bit of relief during this time, then it has served its purpose,” Conway added.
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