Holiday tradition, rivalry proving that it’s more than just a door


Taylor A. Johnson

Students work with brightly colored paper to make the doors in Bearden’s hallways as festive as possible.

Madison Chan, Staff Writer

For some, door decorating is a delightful holiday activity that spreads a little cheer. For others, it is an intense, feverish, and trash-talking competition against rivals for the ultimate bragging rights. This is the Bearden High School door decorating competition.

Two long time rivals, Mrs. Rebecca Nutter and Mr. Cody Martin, are anxious to prove that his or her respective door is indeed superior. Mrs. Nutter, whose class won last year, is confident that her class’s efforts will again bring home first place. Mr. Martin and his class are ready to settle the score.

Although there is a gift card associated with winning the contest, both teachers agreed that the real prize is winning the rivalry and bragging rights.

Last year, Mrs. Nutter’s class triumphed with its theme of “A New York Christmas”, featuring the students as Rockettes. This year, the class is taking Christmas to the beach with “Christmas in Hawaii”, based on the song “Mele Kalikimaka”. It will feature the students of Mrs. Nutter’s class as hula dancers and surfers on a sandy shore complete with towering palm trees.

“For a while, we kept our designs secret, but now it’s kind of obvious,” said senior Erin Dolvin, who is working on Mrs. Nutter’s door. “There’s a lot of smack talk…[but] we know we’re going to beat them.”

Mr. Martin’s previous designs ranged from a Charlie Brown Christmas to the living room the class recreated last year, complete with a chimney and Santa coming out of it. This year, Mr. Martin’s class is working on “Christmas Classics,” a collection of classic Christmas movies that feature the students.

Madison Matherly, a sophomore in Mr. Martin’s class, said her favorite part of decorating was designing a way to arrange the pictures like the Tennessee Theater.

“We’re [calling it] ‘The Leader Theater’…and putting a bunch of sparkles on it and making it look like it’s lit up,” Matherly said.

Though both Mrs. Nutter and Mr. Martin seem to be fully focused on each other’s efforts, there are other players in this game that aren’t ready to concede just yet. Guidance, for one, said they have “stepped it up” since last year, and were certainly quick off the mark this year with their full wall of decorations. The students began brainstorming ideas and planning back in October, and have been working hard since actual building began. They aren’t intimidated by the “big talk” from the SGA and Leadership classes.

“Guidance is right in there with [Mrs. Nutter and Mr. Martin’s classes],” Mrs. Roberta Davis said. “This is guidance’s year – we’ve got this.”

Although classes have until Monday to complete their door designs, many are already finished and brighten up the hallways of Bearden with Christmas cheer. The plain-colored paper has been spruced up with strings of Christmas lights, shimmering garland, and a variety of other 3-D materials.  Teachers are also taking advantage of things like hallways, alcoves, and anything else they can use to make their door truly stand out.

“Coach (Tyler) Lane does a cool thing…he makes it [so] an actual person can walk up to the window in the door, and their face is in the design,” Mrs. Nutter said.

Over the years, it seems like any rules that may have existed at some time have dissolved.

“Dr. (John) Bartlett himself said that the only rule is that there are no rules,” Mrs. Nutter said.

However, rivalries aside, there are a lot of other reasons teachers and students participate in the door decorating.

“People don’t believe [I’m letting the students in my class make all the decisions], but I really am,” Mr. Martin said. “Students have learned a lot through leadership, and they’re taking a leadership role in the design of this, and I’ve got different committees working on different aspects of it all.”

The decorations also brighten up the day of anyone walking through the hallways.

“Especially when you’re worried and stressed about final exams and EOCs, it’s just a little calming to see decorations around the school,” Mr. Martin said.

On Monday, Dr. Bartlett and a group of parents will judge the doors, and their decision will be available that afternoon.

“I’m going to win,” Mr. Martin said. “Mrs. Nutter’s going down.”