December is a month filled with joy and celebration, and for the students at the Montgomery Public Schools Children’s Center School, some extra cheer was delivered right to their classrooms.
Throughout holiday season, the Montgomery Catholic high schoolers had been preparing for a special surprise for the Children’s Center. Groups of MCPS students “adopted” different classes at CCS, shopped for gifts for each student, and gift wrapped them all. As a special treat, the MCPS students hand-delivered gifts to each CCS student and threw a party complete with face painting, crafts, and balloons. Santa Claus made a surprise visit to all the classrooms and visited with the students. Teachers were also given cleaning supplies and blankets for each classroom.
For many of the MCPS students, this visit embodied the spirit of the season.
“I really enjoyed delivering gifts to our buddies,” said MCPS senior Chris Waring. “The most important thing about Christmas is giving, and I feel that we were able to give them the spirit of Christmas through our gifts, our songs, and our friendship.”
For some students, like freshman Aniya Lowery, this trip was deeply personal. Her sister, Audia, is a student at CCS and requires round-the-clock care.
“This made me happy because I got to see smiles from both the CCS and MCPS students,” said Aniya, who accompanied her sister for the festivities. “I am also glad that the other MCPS students were so excited to participate and were willing to spend their afternoon here.”
Their mother, Dominique McCall, shared the sentiment. “Many of these children don’t have the same opportunities for celebration during the holidays as other children,” she said about the CCS students. “The Catholic students made sure they did not feel forgotten or left out.”
The partner program between Montgomery Catholic and the Children’s Center started in the Fall of 2017. MCPS teacher Mrs. Stefanie Nelson organizes each trip that the high schoolers take. Every Wednesday during the school year, students from the MCPS high school campus visit CCS to spend time with the children there. Engaging in activities such as physical therapy and playtime, the high schoolers get to make some new friends while learning about stewardship to others and the important role that the CCS has in the community. The kids at the Children’s Center look forward to seeing their high school buddies each week, and it is an enriching experience for all the students.
“I think the fact that so many of our high school students chose to give up an afternoon of sleeping, studying for final exams, or hanging out with their friends shows that the Children’s Center is an even bigger blessing to us and our students than we are to them,” said Mrs. Nelson. “I’m proud to be a part of a community that truly is growing students into servant leaders.”
Mrs. Johanna Hubbard, principal of the Children’s Center, expressed her appreciation of the MCPS students.
“This partnership has become one of the greatest blessings our school has ever received,” said Mrs. Hubbard. “The smiles on our students’ faces when they see their brothers and sisters come in are evidence of the genuine love they feel from MCPS students and faculty. What began as a service project a year and a half ago has grown to be an extension of our family, and we could not be more grateful.”