It is an understatement to say the nine schools in West Seneca Central School District were in the holiday spirit this month, bringing out the giving hearts in students, parents, faculty and staff.
“The holiday spirit exemplified by the kindness and caring of so many West Seneca students, parents and staff members reflects the wonderful core values of the broader West Seneca community,” shared Dr. Mark J. Crawford, superintendent of the West Seneca Central School District. “On behalf of the West Seneca Board of Education, I wish to thank each and every person within our various schools who contributed to all of the great efforts to make the Christmas and holiday season more enjoyable for those needing some extra love and support.”
Allendale Elementary held a food drive for the Lions Club and had a Giving Tree at the school, with the donations of hats and mittens going to local shelters. Many students wrote letters to Santa, which were then delivered to Macy’s. For every letter brought to Macy’s, the department store donated $1 to Make-A-Wish. To help spread more holiday cheer, a handful of students sang Christmas carols at Elderwood Village while the Leader in Me Student Team made and handed out holiday cards to residents.
Clinton Street Elementary held a food drive for the West Seneca Lions Club. Second grade students also had the opportunity to sing Christmas carols, recite the entire poem “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” from memory, visit with residents and present them with handmade cards at Eden Heights Assisted Living Facility in West Seneca. Smiles lit up the room as the children and residents shared this special moment.
Seventh grade students in Jocelyn Walsh’s fifth period home and careers class at East Middle School sewed hats and donated them to a local church. They made and donated a total of 30 hats!
East Senior High School gave back in numerous ways in December. The Student Council had their annual Giving Tree and Needy Family Drive. “This year we were given a mother and her three children. We have a club that took the three children and an English class that took the mother,” shared Leah Barney, a senior and member of the Student Council. “There were 42 ornaments for the Gift Drive and they’re all gone. That’s pretty incredible!”
Also at East, the ALC students collected gifts and cooked for those at Compass House. School staff contributed to a weekly Dress Down for Charity jar every Friday, with the money going toward helping students and families in need and the purchase of gift cards for the holidays to ease some of the burdens families face. The Key Club made over 100 holiday greeting cards for area nursing home patients and painted the bottom of new socks to make non-slip socks for local pediatric patients. The Spirit Boosters donated $250 worth of Target gift cards that were given to needy families from East and used some of their dress down funds to purchase items. Students from the 12:1:1 class made holiday cards for nursing home residents, some seniors dedicated their final projects for their Participation in Government class to giving back to those in need in the local community, and a couple of students even held their own fundraisers to give back to those less fortunate this winter.
Northwood Elementary had a Holiday Giving Tree set up, with donations made to students and families in need from the school. They also held a food drive for the Lion’s Club.
West Elementary had a Tree of Warmth in their front lobby, with donations of hats and mittens given to the Lions Club.
Members of the Builders Club at West Middle visited Seneca Manor at the beginning of December to help decorate for the holidays. At the school, students were allowed to wear fake mustaches on Dec. 16 and dress up in an ugly Christmas outfit on Dec. 17 if they donated two or more non-perishable food items. A total of 13 boxes of non-perishable food items were sent to the Lions Club to be used for their Holiday Food Drive, which benefits families in the West Seneca community. In addition, $360 was collected to benefit the West Seneca Cares for Kids program, which provided clothing and footwear to over 90 children this season; and a variety of gifts, gift cards and monetary donations were collected through the school’s Blizzard of Caring, which will be used to support local families and add to their holiday season through a Christmas Eve Delivery Program.
West Senior High School’s Bel Canto and String Ensemble performed for patients, families and staff at Roswell Park Cancer Institute while the String Quartet performed at the Muscular Dystrophy Association holiday dinner and Vocal Jazz sang at the Rotary Breakfast. Key Club sent over 1,000 canned goods to the West Seneca Food Bank, the Crushing Cancer Club collected gift cards for Carly’s Club and the National Art Society made art boxes for every child on East’s Giving Tree. On “Toasty Tuesday,” students were able to donate money to dress up or wear hats, donating the proceeds to West Seneca Cares for Kids. Joe Cantafio’s classes donated money to the West Seneca Lions Club. The annual Santa on the Bridge two-day event raised money for the SPCA, and the Student Council raised $700 for the Lions Club Holiday Food Bank at their annual Talent Show. There were also 15 students, accompanied by Principal John Brinker and teacher Lynn Barrett, who raised almost $3,000 for the Special Olympics by participating in the local Polar Plunge. And, like those at East Senior, many seniors from West Senior gave back as part of their final project for their Participation in Government class.
Winchester Elementary collected over 300 pounds of pennies for West Seneca Cares for Kids, equaling out to about $600. The students and staff also wrote and sent out Christmas cards to Safyre Terry.