GRANITE CITY – It took Frohardt School fourth-grader Lauren Willaredt looking at the world in a different way to get her dad's attention.

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Lauren, the daughter of GCHS Social Studies Teacher Vincent and Maryville School Nurse Julie Willaredt, asked her father a year ago why the big Christmas tree by Granite City High School wasn't decorated.

His response - "What Christmas tree?"

Vincent has lived in Granite City his entire life, and never gave the spruce a second thought. That changed in 2020.

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As a member of the Granite City Alumni Association, Willaredt wanted to help lift the Holiday spirit in Granite City during the COVID-19 pandemic. He made a proposal to the GCAA to have a decorated community Christmas tree.

"I brought the idea to the Granite City Alumni Association Management Committee and we agreed that it should be a project for us," said Willaredt. "When the pandemic occurred, this Christmas tree project became a focal point for us. It was something that would hopefully lift everyone's spirits during this difficult time and was socially distant as well."

The tree is located at the entrance of Granite City High School at 3148 Fehling Road.

"It was the right project for us at the right time," Willaredt added. "We want to thank GCSD9, particularly Daren DePew and David Keel, for allowing us to follow through with this plan and for facilitating the electricity update at that spot. Also, a huge thanks to the district electricians for getting an outlet installed for us."

The Granite City Alumni Association is open to all Granite City graduates, and is a resource available for graduates, schools, and the community. GCAA supports GCSD9 and the surrounding community through advocacy, volunteerism, facilitation of communication and preservation of spirit and traditions.

For more information about the Granite City Alumni Association, please visit the website at: or follow on social media at @granitecityalum.

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