Holiday Songs to Get Into The Spirit of the Season

By Josh Fernandes and Amanda Malnik

It seems that holiday songs begin making the rounds on radio and in television commercials earlier and earlier each year. Since we are currently in the holiday season, now is as good a time as any to review Spotify’s Top 10 Holiday Songs! Josh took on songs one through five, while Amanda tackled the rest of this eclectic list!

1. All I Want for Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey
All I Want for Christmas Is You is a song co-written and originally sung by Mariah Carey. I would say that this song is good, but then Ms. Alvarez might change my grade to an “F”. (Side note, Ms. Alvarez wouldn’t actually do that, but she has made it clear that Carey is not on the top of her favorite singers list!) Not only has this song been covered by multiple singers, but it has been in movies such as “Love, Actually”.

2. Last Christmas – Remastered – Wham!
Last Christmas is probably one of the most classic and iconic Christmas songs ever. This song deserves its high spot on the list, and Wham! does a great job singing this holiday cover song. Honestly, it should probably have been higher than All I Want for Christmas Is You.

3. Santa Tell Me – Ariana Grande
I’m giving this one a two out of 10. I would not recommend…but that might just be because it’s Ariana Grande…

4. Rockin ́ Around the Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee
This song is a great song to put on while decorating a Christmas tree. 7.7 out of 10. Great for really any Christmas tree-related activity.

5. It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas – Michael Bublé
It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas, covered by Michael Bublé, is a song that can get anyone into the Christmas spirit. 8.7 out of 10. I feel like this song definitely deserves a higher spot on the list.

6. Jingle Bell Rock – Bobby Helms
Jingle Bell Rock is a classic holiday sing-along song! This a perfect song to listen or sing along to while you’re decorating a gingerbread house or sitting by the fireplace. My favorite version is the one sung by The Vamps. 

7. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Andy Williams
It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year is an upbeat song that really puts you in the holiday spirit. Listen to this when you’re decorating your home for the holidays! Andy Williams’ version with his smooth voice makes the song so much more enjoyable. 

8. Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow – Dean Martin 
Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow by Dean Martin is the ideal song to listen to while sipping hot cocoa by the fire. The song’s lyrics illustrate a cozy winter night with snow falling down outside, something only us Floridians can imagine. 

9. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Michael Bublé
My favorite version of this song is the one by Michael Bublé. His rendition is much better than the Mariah Carey version. Actually, all of Bublé’s Christmas album is better than Carey’s. 

10. Underneath the Tree – Kelly Clarkson 
Underneath the Tree by Kelly Clarkson is one of my favorite holiday songs. This cute love song makes you want to immediately start dancing around your living room. If you like this song, and more importantly, how Clarkson sings it, definitely check out her Christmas album, Wrapped in Red

New US Club Takes Flight

By Kate Krauser

Mike Martinez is not only the Director of Technology at Oak Hall, he is also a seasoned pilot. Because of his passion for flying, he was approached by Oak Hall senior Matthew Citty to start a club for flying. In this club, students go through grounds school, where they learn the technicalities on how to be a pilot and will eventually take the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) exam. “I’d say 80 percent to 90 percent of being a pilot is grounds school,” Citty explained. 

After passing the exam, students have the opportunity take flight lessons at the Gainesville Regional Airport, which is not covered by the $50 club fee. The club fee covers the pilot’s handbook, a flight calculator, and a logbook. Flight Club is open to students at the Upper School, primarily juniors and seniors. There is an interview process to join due to limited availability, and only eight students are allowed to join the club due to time constraints. “We are limiting it due to the size of the instruction area, and the fact that each student requires sufficient simulator time,” Martinez noted.

Students will spend time on the flight simulator, which was donated by the Gleim family. The flight simulator is a machine designed to resemble the cockpit of an aircraft in order for the students to learn the parts and procedures, and even practice flying, in the safety of a classroom. 

Martinez encourages students interested in piloting to join the club. “The club has a demanding 30-week curriculum that covers everything from the basics of aerodynamics, through engine and electrical systems, to airspace navigation,” Martinez said. The club of eight students will be split up into two groups of four. “We are probably going to split it evenly, so two people who already know how to fly go with two people who don’t know how to fly,” Citty explained. One group meets on Tuesdays, while the other group meets on Thursdays. “This club does not immediately put anybody in the left seat of a plane, but if you get into the left seat of a plane, you’ll be very prepared for it,” Citty added.

Senior ACP Recitals Showcase Years of Talent

By Jasmine Chen

A significant part of the culture of Oak Hall’s Arts Conservatory Program (ACP) are the senior ACP recitals. The first of these recitals is at 11:45 a.m., Jan. 23 in the Cofrin Art Gallery.

For the recitals, each senior ACP member is required to perform three to four music pieces that are selected by the musician and approved by both Middle and Upper School music directors, Jason Stahl and Dr. Dominique Clance. “They are required to choose repertoire, then arrange music, and rehearse their musicians during free periods, lunches, and after school,” Stahl said.

Different from normal ACP recitals, which usually feature more than two students at a time, senior ACP recitals feature the seniors independently. “It is a signature moment in our senior’s final year…it is an event that our seniors take pride in, and reflect their persona through,” Stahl noted.

“In the past, we’ve had students bring in special guest artists such as family members and private teachers,” he continued.

Senior ACP member Michelle Li has been part of ACP since freshman year. “It is a chance for [seniors] to be featured with more individuality,” Li said. “It is a very special occasion, even though we’ve been doing the ACP for more than a year for us to be a senior ACP member, so we’ve done recital for multiple times, but it’s very special,” she continued.

ACP was founded in 2010. Students interested in being members of ACP are required to audition to gain admission. As for the seniors, Li acknowledges how important this last recital is for her and her classmates. “Usually when you’re a senior, you’re more capable of using your instrument in different ways, and it’s really a fine opportunity for you to show everyone what you can do, and you have a lot of freedom in arranging and rehearsing.” she said enthusiastically.

The five senior students featured in senior ACP recitals this year are: Emma Anderson on March 5, Michelle Li on Jan. 23, Anthony Ponzio on Jan. 30, Lauren Rogers on Feb. 6, and Griffin Williams on March 12.

Second Semester Calendar

By Mary Madelyn Broom

The second semester is just around the corner and The Talon is here with a friendly reminder of some important dates to help finish out this school year strong!


7 – Teachers return to campus
8 – First day back from winter break
8-11 – All State Music Conference
15 – Last day to withdraw for 2020-21 school year
16 – “Coffee with the Counselor” (Upper School Media Center 7:30 – 8 a.m.)
18 – Florida/Georgia Certamen
20 – No School (MLK Jr. Day)
24 – No homework night
24-26 – Gator Model UN (United Nations)
25 – 2020-21 school year deposits auto drafted through FACTS
26 – All School Preview for Prospective Families
27 – No test day
28 – ECLC Stay & Play for Prospective Families (ECLC Multi-Purpose Room 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.)
29 – Class of 2021 College Night I (Cofrin Theater 7 p.m.)


1 – Regional Latin Forum
4 – 6th Grade Field Trip
4 – Rising 10th and 11th Grade College Night
6-8 – Florida State Jr. Thespian Festival
8 – ACT
14-15 – Annual music trip (Orlando)
17 – No School (President’s Day)
19 – 2nd Grade Performance (LS Multi-Purpose Room 1 p.m.)
20 – 2nd Grade Performance (LS Multi-Purpose Room 7 p.m.)
21-23 – Athletic Fundraiser
24-28 – Spring Book Fair
24 – Chamber concert
27-29 – Junior YIG Trip (Youth in Government)
27 – ECLC Stay & Play for Prospective Families (ECLC Multi-Purpose Room 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.)
28 – OHS International Festival (Oak Hall School 3:30 – 7 p.m.)
29 – Winter Formal


1 – Junior YIG Trip (Youth in Government)
3 – No School (All School Conference Day)
3 – SAT Practice (1 – 5 p.m.)
4 – 6th Grade Showcase
5-7 – State Spanish Conference
6 – Lower School/Middle School End of Quarter 3
11-13 – 6th Grade Trip
14 – SAT
15-20 – 5th Grade Trip
17-21 – State Thespian Competition
17 – Chamber of Commerce Breakfast (7:30 – 11:30 a.m.)
18 – 3rd Grade Performance (Lower School Multi-Purpose Room 1 p.m.)
19 – 3rd Grade Performance (Lower School Multi-Purpose Room 7 p.m.)
20 – Pep Rally (Oxborough Gymnasium 3 – 3:30 p.m.)
23-27 – No school (Spring Break)


1-3 – YIG State Assembly (Youth in Government)
1-4 – State Latin Competition
4 – ACT
4 – GOLD (Girls Overnight Leadership Development)
10 – Half Day of School (no aftercare)
14 – 10th Grade Pre ACT
15 – Jazz Piano Concert
17 – Middle School Dance
17 – Faculty Appreciation Luncheon (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.)
18 – Prom
22-23 – “Amazing Give”
24 – Grad Bash
26 – Spring Concert (Grades 6 – 12)
28 – ECLC Stay & Play for Prospective Families (ECLC Multi-Purpose Room 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.)
29 – Upper School play
29 – 5th Grade Performance (Lower School Multi-Purpose Room 1 p.m.)
30 – 5th Grade Performance (Lower School Multi-Purpose Room 7 p.m.)


2 – SAT
4-8 – AP Exams
5-8 – 8th Grade Trip
8 – Pre-Kindergarten & Junior Kindergarten “Muffins for Mom” (8 – 9 a.m.)
9 – Directors Concert
11-15 – AP Exams
11-15 – OHS Teacher Appreciation Week
12 – Middle School End of Quarter 4
12 – Middle School Showcase
12 – ECLC Stay & Play for Prospective Families (ECLC Multi-Purpose Room 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.)
13 – 1st Grade “Mother’s Day Tea” (Lower School Multi-Purpose Room 1 p.m.)
14 – 1st Grade “Mother’s Day Tea” (Lower School Multi-Purpose Room 1 p.m.)
15 – 1st Grade “Mother’s Day Tea” (Lower School Multi-Purpose Room 1 p.m.)
15 – Lower School End of Quarter 4
15 – Middle School Exams
15 – Senior Project Presentations
16-20 – Senior Trip
18-21 – Middle School Exams
18 – Pre-K & JK Donuts for Dad (8 – 9a.m.)
20 – 5th Grade “Movin’ on Up” Lunch (Lower School Multi-Purpose Room 11:45 a.m. – 1 p.m.)
21 – Upper School Awards Convocation
22 – Last Day of School
22 – Middle School Awards Convocation
22 – Oak Hall Class of 2020 Graduation

LS Continues Tradition of Holiday Singalong

By Jenna Poppell

As Middle and Upper School students prepare for midterms, the fun is just beginning at the Lower School! On Dec. 20 at 9 a.m., Lower School students are performing their annual holiday singalong. Grades include pre-kindergarten all the way up to fifth!

Amanda Ferwerda, one of the Lower School music teachers, explained that some classes have been practicing music for the singalong for weeks. “We have a wide variety of Christmas, Winter, and Hanukkah songs,” she said. It is expected the singalong will last 45 minutes to one hour. Unlike in previous years, no instruments will be played, with the exception of piano played by the other Lower School music teacher, Erin Cushing. 

“After the singalong, most of the students will play outside, while the room parents [set up] for the holiday parties,” explained Michelle Mills, Director of the Lower School. Students do not need to bring a lunch/snack because dismissal is at 11:45 a.m. and there will be plenty of food at the holiday parties. 

“There really isn’t time for academics on this day, so many of our students do not bring their backpack,” Mills noted. “For most of the students, Friday will be a pajama day, with the exception of the fifth grade, who has ugly sweater day,” she continued.