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Science Hill students serve as Santa’s helpers, wrapping presents for those in need

The smiles that will come on Christmas morning will be a bit bigger thanks to the smiles that filled Tracy Hoilman’s room at Science Hill last week as the final bows went on 508 wrapped presents.

An annual occurrence for the past decade, Hoilman and Science Hill students that make up the Random Acts of Kindness Club met as Elves Inc. to wrap the hundreds of presents that are donated to sit under the tree for underprivileged children in our community.

“Science Hill never ceases to amaze me with its generosity at Christmas time,” said Hoilman, a drama teacher at the high school. “For 11 years, we have provided Christmas for needy children in our community. It is simply amazing to see the compassion from our faculty, staff, and student body for those who are less fortunate.

“This year, incredibly, our 25+ students who received community service credit wrapped 508 packages in two days. This was a combined total of over 72 hours of community service. I truly think this is evidence of the spirit of Christmas.”

The aura of the holiday season is exactly what brought Haley Elrod out.

“I wanted to be a part of putting a smile on a kid’s face on Christmas morning,” Elrod said. “Christmas is one of the happiest times of the year, and I wanted to make sure the kids got to experience that.”

Different clubs, classes, organizations, sports teams, faculty, staff and administration were able to choose a child from a list to provide presents. The groups were then provided with the child’s wish list and they were able to shop accordingly.

Some of the students reminisced on some of their favorite Christmas memories as they wrapped presents and Kelsea Bailey said memories like those are the reason that she decided to take some time to wrap gifts.

“I always loved opening gifts as a child, and I wanted to help create that feeling for children who may not have it without help,” Bailey said.

Some of the students, like Science Hill senior Rylie Payne, returned after having a great experience last year.

“Last year was the first time I came to wrap presents with this club. I decided to come back this year because it was a great experience,” Payne said. “Wrapping these presents, you get to see what a community looks like and the joy that is spread while doing it.”

Avery Nevitt said sitting around with friends and wrapping presents for others was exactly what she needed to get in the Christmas spirit.

“I came here because this is all about Christmas. Most people know Christmas as a season of getting gifts and money and making cookies and such,” Nevitt said. “What most people fail to acknowledge is that this is also the season for giving. Wrapping gifts is a small amount of the time and effort but knowing happy children with smiles across their faces when opening (the packages) Christmas morning is what makes it worth being here.”

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