Young students at Sunnyside Elementary School in Stanstead were surprised Thursday morning with books from students and faculty from Stanstead College and special guest, Santa Claus!
This special Christmas project started with the Grade 8 classes at the College writing and illustrating short stories for the younger children. The Art Department, under the direction of Amy Laroche, designed and printed Christmas cards for each of the children as well.
Then several weeks ago, the College held free-dress down, with students donating cash for the privilege of being out of uniform for the day. Enough funds were raised to purchase a book for each student at Sunnyside. There was enough money to also donate to local French elementary school, Ecole Jardin-des-frontières.
Thursday morning, Stanstead students and Santa presented the Sunnyside kids with their gifts. Students spent time with the children in each grade, reading books and short stories.
When asked about her experience, Avah St-Pierre, Grade 8, replied, “It was so much fun! One little girl gave me a hug that lasted about 5 minutes! She loved my story and said, ‘The best part was when the bad elf realized he could save Christmas.’”
Teacher Barb Wilkinson noted how surprised and happy the younger children were. “It’s nice to see everyone together, and enjoying themselves,” she said. “The kids were full of big smiles and sang their school song as a thank you.”
After Sunnyside, teacher Lisa Smith took a few College students to Jardin-des-frontières with some books, a big card and the donation.
After Sunnyside, teacher Lisa Smith took a few College students to Jardin-des-frontières with some books, a big card and the donation. Several classes came to the school library where two younger students open the boxes. They then passed all the books around for all to see.
“What impressed me the most,” said Mrs. Smith, “was how our students took ownership of the day. They were so proud to share what they had written. As well, I really think it opened their eyes to see what joy their actions brought to the little children. The smiles were ear to ear.”
A version of this story originally appeared in the December issue of The Clarion.