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20111216_Shary-Angels_IMG_5452SISD administrators, students help district students in need of a Merry Christmas

MISSION — The “Sharyland Angels” became Santa’s helpers this week, delivering Christmas gifts to local children and families. Students and teachers at three elementary schools and administration in the Sharyland Independent School District participated in filling Christmas wish lists for students within the district.

In previous years, the district adopted needy families and children referred by the Salvation Army. Nelsa Palacios, one of the organizers and curriculum and instruction secretary, said they have really enjoyed working with the Salvation Army in past years but saw that there were students in their district that could use the help as well.

“Last year we thought about it and said it would be really nice if we could impact our own kids,” said Dr. Melissa Martinez, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. “This year we were very excited. We just wanted to impact their holidays.

20111216_Shary-Angels_IMG_5459“It’s our community, it’s our students, so we wanted to give back to our community.”

The campus and federal programs department helped in finding families in the district that might benefit from some help with Christmas this year. If there were multiple children in the family, all the children were put up for adoption, even if they were not school age.

They had such an overwhelming response from administration personnel wanting to adopt a student that they had to find more students to assist. People who had never helped before helped this time around because they were excited to help someone in their own school district, said Martinez.

“It was amazing just to see people get excited about helping others,” she added. “I think there was more excitement on our end than possibly what will be on the students’ end.”

20111216_ANGELS_IMG_0064Genevieve Phillips, student council representative at Hinojosa Elementary, explained that the students were not directly asked what they wanted for Christmas. The wish lists were filled out discreetly through conversations with counselors or others. Three or four items were included on each wish list, plus clothing sizes.

“So that made receiving the gifts an even bigger surprise,” said Phillips. Her school adopted sisters, one in high school and a second-grader.

The student council at Hinojosa Elementary helped the school collect enough to buy everything on the students’ wish list. Phillips said they figured that if everyone donated at least $1, they would be able to get everything. Everyone was thrilled that everything on their wish list was going to be delivered to them, she added.

“Despite the Christmas crowds and chaos at the stores, it was a true pleasure being able to go and pick up the presents for the girls, knowing that it would make a Christmas that they hopefully would never forget,” she said.

Martinez, whose family adopted a family, said it was great seeing how her children responded to the opportunity to buy gifts for children they didn’t even know.

Aaron Martinez said it felt good to give things to others that we take for granted.

20111216_Shary-Angels_IMG_0942“It feels good,” he said, after delivering gifts. “It’s something you don’t get all the time. They accept it with open arms and enjoy it.”

“Seeing their faces when they saw the presents…it felt good,” said Brittany Martinez, who helped her family make the deliveries.

Administration personnel and students delivered the gifts Wednesday afternoon, bringing Christmas cheer to 36 children in 15 families.

When asked if this is going to become an annual project, Martinez said, “I think so.”

“We wanted to start small,” said Martinez. “We wanted to make sure that it was something that would be successful.”

Superintendent Scott Owings said he was very proud of his staff that took the time to get together on their own and do this for students within the school district.

“It makes me feel good that we have that kind of employees,” said Owings. “They looked so happy doing it.”

The Sharyland Angels are hoping to come back again next Christmas to cheer the lives of even more children at Sharyland ISD.

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