Gannon to get into holiday spirit


Gannon University’s Activities Programming Board (APB) and Erie’s Chapter of Make-A-Wish have teamed up for their 15th annual Light Up AJ’s Way charity event, which takes place Friday.
Each year, the lighting ceremony takes place at AJ’s Way, the walkway located between West Seventh and West Eighth streets. The event will begin at 6 p.m. and typically lasts about 20 minutes.
This is a free event and is open to the Gannon community as well as the public. There will be caroling before the ceremony, and a small after party held in Beyer Hall. Free cookies and hot chocolate will be offered there.
“I have been involved in the event all semester and I love the traditions that Gannon has for Christmas,” Jillian Chezosky, the Kaleidoscope Chair of APB, said.
The event was created in 2001 after APB contacted Make-A-Wish, Chezosky said. They have partnered up each year since to help raise money for the organization.
APB has been collecting donations for a while for this year’s ceremony and will continue to do so during the event, Chezosky said. In the past, APB has donated over $1,250.
Make-A-Wish is an organization that tries to make the lives of children who suffer from a life-threatening medical condition better.
According to the Make-A-Wish website, “In the United States and its territories, on average, a wish is granted every 35 minutes. We believe a wish experience can be a game-changer. This one belief guides us and inspires us to grant wishes that change the lives of the kids we serve.”
Each year, an honorary Make-A-Wish child makes an appearance at the ceremony and flips a switch. This switch lights thousands of LED lights all throughout AJ’s Way.
Jan Stork is the Make-A-Wish senior director and has been working with the organization for over 19 years.
“Without a doubt, my favorite part is seeing how happy a wish-come-true makes a child and his or her family,” Stork said. “I’ve seen first-hand how the impact of that fulfilled wish can provide a child the hope they need to continue fighting.
“Wishes bring families together after an illness has torn them apart.”
Veronica Kowalski, a junior journalism communication major, is one of the many students who have witnessed AJ’s Way lit up in the past.
“My favorite part was when the lights were switched on,” Kowalski said. “I’m the type of person who won’t listen to Christmas music until the few days leading up to Christmas day, so, attending this got me into the Christmas spirit a lot earlier, which I was OK with.”
Isabelle Amann, a junior early childhood development and education major, attended the celebration last year.
“I thought it was pretty,” Amann said. “I don’t know many details about Make-A-Wish, but I think it would be a great cause.”
For more information about the Make-A-Wish Foundation, visit its website at

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