By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
SALTILLO – Saltillo Elementary students had a Christmas celebration while also helping less fortunate children.
The school’s gifted program hosted its annual Enriching Lives Forever, or ELF, project on Dec. 9 to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. About 180 gifted students at the third- to fifth-grade school spent several weeks making a large variety of Christmas ornaments. They also donated old toys, and their parents made a large number of baked goods.
Throughout the day on Dec. 9, their classroom was turned into a store, where the school’s roughly 800 students could buy the ornaments, toys or baked goods. Over $2,600 was raised for the two hospitals.
Students in the gifted classes taught by Debbie Davis, Leah Partlow, Peggy Tubbs and Holly Nelson starting making crafts during the middle of November. They created pottery, ornaments, Christmas trees wrapped in yarn, reindeer made from light bulbs, jingle bell necklaces, wreaths and popsicle-stick snowmen, among other crafts. Items were sold for $1 or $2.
Several of the students bought the items as Christmas presents for their family.
“One boy said he was doing chores at home to earn money to buy things for mom and dad for Christmas,” Partlow said.
Meanwhile their parents brought enough baked goods to fill seven tables with an assortment of brownies, cookies, cupcakes and other treats. Tubbs said that several parents got together and held a baking night before the event.
“This community really supports the public school system,” Davis said.
The students researched St. Jude and Le Bonheur so that they could see where their money would go.
“That put more meaning into what they were doing,” Tubbs said. “Some of them could personally relate to children they knew who had been there.”
Hearing the stories of the children with health problems helped the children realize their blessings, Partlow said.
“Hopefully they know how fortunate they are for having good health,” she said. “A lot of times that doesn’t cross the kids’ minds.”
The activity fulfilled a gifted objective that requires the students to do something for others.
Among those attending the event was Saltillo resident Dottie Pounds, who was supporting her 10-year-old granddaughter Aislyn Pounds, a fifth-grade gifted student. She said that the students enjoy the opportunity to help others.
“My granddaughter looks forward to doing something for those who are less fortunate,” she said.