Students spread holiday cheer for sister school
December 14, 2010
By Shawna Stinson
The holiday spirit of giving is alive and well at Cal High.
Through the Adopt-A-Family program, Cal families, clubs, classes, and teams hosted fundraisers to help create a better holiday for dozens of underprivileged families at Wilson Elementary School in Richmond.
Wilson, which is located 38 miles northwest of San Ramon, has been Cal’s sister school since 2004.
Students purchased a few gifts for each family member, a basket of treats, and grocery store gift cards for a holiday meal.
“Even a simple gift, like a jacket, means so much to them,” said sophomore Kyle Kao, a member of the leadership class which organizes the program.
This holiday season, Cal students will provide meals and gifts to 33 Wilson families that live below the poverty line.
On Thursday, leadership students will deliver the Adopt-A-Family gifts and help out in the classrooms at Wilson.
“Last year I put on the Grizzly suit and I went around to first and second grade classrooms,” said
junior Cooper Jensen. “Some of the kids got scared, but most of them got really excited. The teachers loved it.”
The annual visit allows students to see the beneficiaries of their fundraising firsthand.
Many students said the experience solidifies their purpose in aiding the school.
“It warms my heart to be able to make kids smile,” said sophomore Vivian Li, another leadership student.
Cooper says he’s happy to be able to see the kids again.
“I’m excited to go back,” said Cooper. “All the kids want to hang out with you. I just start running and they all chase after me.”
Varsity songleaders were among the many students to participate in the program.
“Doing public service is important,” said song coach Toneka R. Webb. “It should be a way of life.”
This is the song team’s second year adopting a family.
“It’s important for our team to come together, bond, and help those less fortunate,” said junior song member Melissa White.
The sister school program between Cal and Wilson Elementary is coordinated by parent volunteers.
“Giving back is essential to providing a positive role model for my student,” said Elena McCrary, a Cal parent and a co-chair of the sister school program.
Through the program, Cal families can donate individual gifts which are then matched to a family at Wilson.
These gifts are wrapped by leadership students and PTSA volunteers at an annual wrapping party.
“I would say when our school community comes together for the PTSA wrapping party, this is my favorite part,” said McCrary.
The wrapping party was hosted Monday night in the school library at Cal.
Many Cal families brought foods from their different cultures to this event, while students, parents and teachers helped wrap gifts for Wilson families.