Keeping a Christmas tradition

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By Camille McClanahan

As they entered Wal-Mart on Dec. 14, it didn’t take long for some Grant County Middle School students to grab shopping carts and spread out across the store.
“They’re excited,” said Barbara Jones, GCMS language arts teacher who organized the event. “Our students are amazing. They are really humbled by this experience. I have witnessed tears in the eyes of students as they talk about the reasons for the gifts they selected. It is so heartwarming.”
Members of the student council and the Broadcasting Club, made up a group of 35 students who went on an excursion to buy Christmas gifts for students whose parents needed a helping hand this year.
“They don’t know who they’re buying for,” Jones said. “They have the gender, age, size and something that is wanted and they must buy at least two clothing items.”
The shopping trip was the culmination of student efforts to raise money: dances, a penny drive and other fundraisers, in order to make the holiday brighter for less fortunate children.
“It makes me feel good that we’re helping other people,” Brittany Hudson said. “It brings me joy.”
The organizations raised a total of $1,900, and each group of shoppers had $50 to spend on gifts for a total of 32 children.
“It means a lot to know I helped make another child’s Christmas,” Bethany Lawrence said.
The tradition began 20 years ago with 10 students and $500 to spend, and today, with the slowing economy, the need is greater, said Jones.
“If you ask any former GCMS Student Council member, this is the one community service project that they remember the most—the opportunity to make a difference by helping others,” Jones said.