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Friday, December 18, 2015

Middle School Students Show Spirit of Giving to Neighboring Elementary Students

Several gifts adorned the table for one of the 18 adopted children.
Walking through the hallways of Rogene Worley Middle School, it felt a lot like Christmas morning. Holiday tunes were playing, presents were underneath decorated Christmas Trees, and several presents were piled underneath the trees.

It wasn’t your typical end-of-the-year party, though. All of the gifts and activities were for a group of 18 children who otherwise may not have received much for Christmas this year.

Worley Middle School’s annual tradition is to adopt kids in need from nearby Alice Ponder Elementary School and give them a special day to remember. It’s the 25th year the middle school has held its Adopt-a-Child Day, and Worley’s principal said it’s one of her favorite events.

A Ponder student opened her gifts with the help of Worley students.
“I love watching our kids appreciate the joy on the faces of these younger children,” said Principal Julia McMains. “In the age of social media and self-absorption, it’s nice to see these teens have real and meaningful interactions. They’re showing their true caring selves, and I love it.”

Adopt-a-Child Day is coordinated by Worley’s student council. The elementary school students go to different classrooms set up with decorations, food, and presents just for them. A teacher noted that some of the middle schoolers didn’t ask their parents to give. Instead, the students contributed in their own way.

“One of my students came up to me and said that he bought a big basketball hoop with a gift card he received,” said Jill Melchiorre, eighth grade science teacher. “I just started crying right then and there because I was touched to see his compassion.”

A Ponder student was happy to unwrap her new backpack.
Smiles were on full display in each room. Children’s faces lit up as each gift was being handed to them, the middle schoolers watched in delight to see their gifts make an impact, and staff grinned in delight viewing the selflessness of it all.

“It really was a whole team effort,” said eighth grader Naomi Nebe, who is also a student council member. “We were all so excited to set it up and create these great memories for the kids.”