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Hark the Herald Angel Tree

Project encourages staff, student organizations to present gifts to those in need

Decorating+the+Angel+Tree%2C+Alyssa+Stern+and+Kinley+Larson%2C+seniors+and+Peyton+Purdy%2C+junior%2C+help+to+advertise+the+charity+drive.
Decorating the Angel Tree, Alyssa Stern and Kinley Larson, seniors and Peyton Purdy, junior, help to advertise the charity drive.

Decorating the Angel Tree, Alyssa Stern and Kinley Larson, seniors and Peyton Purdy, junior, help to advertise the charity drive.

Madison White

Madison White

Decorating the Angel Tree, Alyssa Stern and Kinley Larson, seniors and Peyton Purdy, junior, help to advertise the charity drive.

Chloe-Amelie Aikman, Staff Writer

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The newest addition to the Main Office is more than just idle decoration.

Pinned to its walls are rows of green angel cutouts, each with a child’s holiday wish written on it, waiting to be picked up. Just outside the doors, a fully decorated Christmas tree – aptly named the “Angel Tree” – stands at attention. This year, instead of the “PLANTing the Seeds” project, clubs have been given the opportunity to choose from and provide the items on these slips as part of a seasonal charity.

“It’s very important to me that NEHS be involved in service events that will benefit the community at large,” senior Mia Collado said. “The Angel Tree project will allow over 30 middle and elementary schoolers to have a special and fulfilled holiday, and I’m excited that NEHS will be able to help make that happen.”

Collado is the Senior President of NEHS and will be helping take care of eight of the angels, each one coming from a student attending Madison Middle School or Tampa Bay Elementary. Children involved in this program were selected on an individual basis and identified to be someone with the greatest potential to benefit from participating in an opportunity like this.

“Everyone should get something on Christmas,” senior and President of E-Board Hunter Owens said. “I think it’s great that – kind of why I like doing it – is that feeling you get from making other people happy. Hopefully, that appeals to people and encourages them to do it.

The project itself is a result of the collaboration between Bookkeeper Eileen Pelaez and social worker Leland Schardt, who proposed this project to the principal to alternate it with the “PLANTing the Seeds” event in the future.

“I want our students to be aware of what’s out in the community,” Pelaez said. “It brings tears to my eyes when I see our kids looking at these angels and really picking the gifts that they want to give.”

Each child benefitting from the project was allowed to write down four wishes, amounting to about 140-150 angel cutouts in total.

“Some kids wanted things as simple as a teddy bear, or chocolate – or slippers,” Schardt said. “Those are the things that really touch you to see, that these kids just want basic things that we all take for granted.”

Clubs who have adopted angels are to deliver their presents to the office no later than the morning of Dec. 18, and gifts will be delivered to their recipients throughout that week.

“I think we’re instilling in them at this age, as they go through life, to give – and it’s going to follow them through the rest of their lives,” Pelaez said.

With winter break just around the corner, projects like these continue to not only foster compassion and generosity in today’s youth but also strive to ensure that that the holiday season is just a little bit brighter for everyone involved.

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Hark the Herald Angel Tree