For them, the holidays provide a perfect opportunity for schools to get involved and help the community; here are a few examples of how they helped.
Mountain View Elementary
Mountain View had their own angel tree program in which they ensured that 248 of their students will wake up with presents on Christmas morning. The school also gathered enough food to fill close to 130 food boxes to provide families with enough food to get them through the holidays.
Mountain View Family and School Coordinator Christy Gambrell began planning the event in September by writing grants to Walmart to help fund the food boxes. Members of the staff, community and others helped provide the toys and funding to provide the students with gifts, and students’ parents picked up the gifts Thursday.
“It is very rewarding, but what is great about it is seeing how we — the community and the school — come together to provide a Christmas for these kids. That is what is important,” Gambrell said.
Indian Trail Intermediate School
The teachers and staff at Indian Trail were busy spreading holiday cheer throughout the school during the final week. Thanks to a generous donation of toys from Five Below, some students were able to pick gifts out for their siblings at “Santa’s Workshop.”
The students were able to pick out a gift for each sibling and wrap the presents to take home and put under their trees. Indian Trail sixth-grader Jerandy Munoz said that she was happy that she would be able to get something for her older sibling.
“I wanted to get my older sister something because she always looks out for me,” Munoz said. “I think it’s important because family matters.”
On Thursday night, some members of the staff caravanned around Johnson City to deliver carols and presents to students and their families. Teachers from each hall identified a student that they wanted to sponsor.
“It’s a way for us to show students that we care about them outside of the classroom also,” Indian Trail teacher Misty Davis said. “We, as a school, are continuing to build on our community outreach. We are a part of the community and they are a part of the school, and we are all in this together.”
Physical education teacher David Nutter has been organizing the event for the past few years and he said that each year keeps getting better and better. Nutter accompanies the teachers and dresses up as Santa to deliver the presents.
“We want to reach out to our students and let them know that they are loved and that their teachers care about them,” Nutter said. “I feel like I am doing something special for the students, but I also get a lot of joy seeing their faces light up.”
Liberty Bell Middle School
Continuing a tradition started by retired school counselor Donna Wilkinson, teams at Liberty Bell collected gifts to donate to Veterans who are living and receiving treatment at the VA hospital. This year 10 veterans were adopted by Liberty Bell students. Students worked to collect money and buy items that the veterans needed or wanted.
Earlier this week, students delivered the items and they also spent some time expressing the appreciation that Liberty Bell has for the sacrifices all veterans have made for us, and our country.
“This is always a great experience for the students and the veterans,” Liberty Bell counselor Seth Johns said. “We are proud to continue the tradition this year, and for many years to come.”
The third- and fourth-grade student council members visited the Ronald McDonald House to deliver can tabs that they have collected over the year. The students also received a tour of the facility.
The collection is an ongoing community service project at Woodland and the Ronald McDonald house exchanges those metal tabs for cash to make any needed purchases.
This year, 72 students at Cherokee Elementary had their Christmas sponsored by staff and community members. Also, for the third year, teachers were able to collect 14 Christmas trees, ornaments and lights that they then donated to families. In all, 16 families received decorations to get them in the holiday spirit.
“Ms. Kellner began the project two years ago to help provide Cherokee families in need with Christmas decorations for the holiday season,” Cherokee Kindergarten teacher Erika Patterson said.
“She left last year, so Anna Adams and I wanted to continue the project after seeing the joy it brought to families in previous years. We understand how challenging it can be for some families to provide gifts for their families.
“We often take for granted the smaller things such as trees and decorations. Our hope was to take this burden off some of our Cherokee families.”
Science Hill High School
The decade-old tradition of Elves Inc. continued this year with the guidance of media specialist Tracy Hoilman. Different clubs, classes, organizations, sports teams, faculty, staff and administration were able to choose a child from a list to provide presents. The groups were then provided with the child’s wish list and they were able to shop accordingly.
“Science Hill never ceases to amaze me with its generosity at Christmas time,” Hoilman said. “For 12 years, we have provided Christmas for needy children in our community. It is simply amazing to see the compassion from our faculty, staff and student body for those who are less fortunate.”