Leadership classes find innovative ways to collect toys for annual holiday party

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Emily Price

A snowflake hangs from the "Giving Tree," symbolizing another gift from a Bearden student.

Many Bearden students know the pure joy and excitement of coming downstairs Christmas morning and finding a tree that has piles of presents pooled underneath it. Because of this, Bearden leadership students are throwing the third annual holiday party and giving presents to the underprivileged elementary school students of Christenberry and Belle Morris in the hopes of giving them the same joy that has become familiar to BHS students.

“A lot of the kids may not get much of a Christmas, so this is a really good opportunity for them to get to open a gift and kind of feel like people thought about them and care about them,” Bearden leadership teacher Mrs. Rebecca Nutter said.

Previously, leadership has asked each advisory class to sponsor a few kids and bring in presents or money for them and will continue that tradition this year; however, unlike the past two years, leadership is also doing a “Giving Tree”. For every present a student donates, he or she will get a snowflake to put on the tree; as more snowflakes are added, the tree will grow in size to accommodate them.

“It’s just kind of a neat experience because, in my life, I’m really privileged and have always been able to have a lot of Christmas presents, but for these kids, they don’t, and to know that you’re giving them that gift is such an honor,” Bearden senior and leadership student Kelsey West said. “It’s something that I can’t even describe.”

Leadership hopes for this new addition to add a visual aid and reminder for the amount of presents Bearden has collectively raised.

Not all Belle Morris classes have the opportunity to work with and learn from the Bearden students, so to be fair and to prevent jealousy, every student will receive school uniform shirts. Christenberry students in pre-K through second grade will receive presents, like previous years.

They found a pleasant surprise leftover from Bearden students’ generosity last year in the form of 100 extra presents that gave the Christenberry fundraising a jump start this year.

Students – elementary and high school alike – have come to really enjoy the holiday parties they put on for the classes they mentor.

“We have all these activities like decorating ornaments and snowflakes planned, and they just smile all day long,” Bearden junior Ramsey Regen said. “It’s hard work, but it’s also some of the most rewarding.”

The absolute deadline for presents to be turned in is Thursday, Dec. 12; the price range is $10-$20 with all presents being appropriate for a young child.