Students embrace spirit of caring, giving

By Penny Bailey: Clovis Municipal Schools

“…and a little child shall lead them.”

I could not help it — this phrase kept coming to my mind as I visited our various schools this month and saw the amazing caring spirit of our students and school staff.

I know this is the season of giving, and I have seen a lot of Christmas spirit over the years, but none have been so amazing as this season.

It actually began in November when the students from Ranchvale asked their school if they could support one of their own first-graders who had recently been diagnosed with a brain tumor. They organized “Operation Caring.”

Each classroom had a cowboy boot to collect cash donations. There was no reward for the class who raised the most money as they felt the reward was in the giving, and they sure did! The students raised more than $900 to help the family with expenses associated with long hospital stays.

Clovis High School, Highland and Zia raised money to purchase gifts for the Lighthouse Mission Christmas Party. And, to sweeten things up a bit, the high school baking class made pecan and pumpkin pies for them.

Highland Elementary raised more than $700 for the American Cancer Society, while Zia Elementary collected personal items for Lincoln-Jackson Clothing Closet and the Ronald McDonald House.

Additionally, Yucca and the CHS Freshman Academy students collected and donated money to the Mix 107.5 Secret Santa Project, and high school students helped wrap the gifts.

Sandia Elementary School joined forces with the Harley-Davidson toy drive and collected five large boxes of toys for Court Appointed Special Advocates.

Many schools as well as the Student Support Center selected names from Angel Trees and provided gifts for children in need.

Various school clubs also got into the action as they worked together to care for families and provide children with gifts, totaling of more than $1,000 in value, while others learned what it was like to “ring the bell” for the Salvation Army.

But there was more than raising money taking place. Others gave of their time as Mesa Elementary adopted the Fairhaven Retirement Home and provided a wonderful dinner and presents for the residents. One of Mesa’s kindergarten classes delivered treats to Clovis firefighters, while other classes made cards for our military members serving overseas. And, a first-grade class sent packages filled with mittens, scarves, books, clothing and more to children overseas.

The Senior Citizen Center was visited by some of our students as well. They sang Christmas songs, provided fellowship and even gave some place mats.

Of course, there are stories of children coming to school without coats, and now they have nice ones to keep them warm, thanks to the caring students and staff in our schools. And, there was a sixth-grade class at Yucca who donated to a family of six who was in need.

Finally, each school collected non-perishable food items for various food banks in our area. So much was collected that it was impossible to keep count. However, keeping count of the items donated was not the purpose.

One principal told me that “service to others” is their main goal, and from what I observed these past few weeks, they have certainly achieved their goal. It appears this attitude of caring and giving is a way of life.

Thank you students, parents, teachers and staff who encouraged and supported many people in our community with your spirit of giving.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all!