Thanks to a new school-wide project, all CJHS students can have a Merry Christmas this year.
Working together, the teachers and the students took on "Project Christmas Angel"-an effort that provided Christmas presents for junior high students and their siblings who were in need this season.
Administrators worked together with the teachers and counselors to identify the "angels"--each one was given a "needs list" and a "dream list." Once these lists were made, the homeroom classes got busy!
"This has bonded the students and teachers in ways we could never have imagined," says Assistant Principal Pam Ferguson. "The stories are unbelievable! Some classes are even shopping together...students, parents, and teachers! Everyone had a blast! Today the 8th grade football team came to my office, bringing the gifts they had bought for their angel. Everyone is excited about this!"
All together 51 teachers and 39 classrooms are participating in the project. They will provide Christmas for 46 students this year.
Local businesses have heard of their project and offered to help the students as well. Reliance Healthcare has adopted one entire family, the Highway 65 Wal-Mart donated all of the wrapping paper and boxes needed to wrap all of the gifts, and the choir from Central Baptist Church donated $250 for the Christmas Angels. Other local businesses offered discounts or donations as teachers and students were shopping for the angels and described the project.
"I'm just blown away at the response," Ferguson says. "Even students who don't have much to give are coming to their teachers and saying "I don't have any money but I want to give what I have to this project. It has brought tears to my eyes every day this week."
Ferguson says in all her years of education, this is the most amazing thing she's ever been a part of. Her teachers agree, saying the students are learning important lessons, ones you can't learn from "books."
"You get what you give," says Tyre Ross, a 9th grade student in Jake Stroman's Civics class. Their class adopted and shopped for three angels. Ross and his classmates wrapped the numerous presents for their angels Thursday afternoon.
"We just wanted to make a kid's Christmas a good one." says 9th grader Jadon Pierce.
"These are life lessons," says Ferguson. "It teaches kids what it feels like to be a part of something bigger than themselves."