Students and staff members of the Comal Independent School District are making wishes come true for more than 300 families and 730 children in their own communities this holiday season.
In fact, student groups and campuses throughout the district have been hosting holiday giving programs such as food drives, toy drives, blanket drives and more.
Starting in the New Braunfels area, Canyon High School hosts its annual Cougar Christmas which began seven years ago. Today, Cougar Christmas is a student-led program with every student organization that wants to participate involved. This year more than 970 high school students gave wrapped gifts to students in need on Tuesday, Dec. 17. With the help of the campus’ Communities in School South Central Texas (CIS) site coordinators, each student organization at CHS adopts a student or two from the list of children who have been identified with needs during the holiday season. At least 20 students from each of the five elementary schools, which are served by CHS, are identified. These schools include Clear Spring, Freiheit, Goodwin Frazier, Morningside and Oak Creek.
Based on each child’s wish list, CHS students go shopping, wrap the gifts and patiently wait as the schools two gymnasiums fill up with fellow students and elementary kids wondering who has their name. This year, Cougar Christmas helped 105 children and 96 families.
Throughout the Canyon Lake community, the Adopt-a-Child Student Program helps students and families in need. Each of the five campuses including Mountain Valley Elementary, Rebecca Creek Elementary, Startzville Elementary, Mountain Valley Middle and Canyon Lake High School host angel trees featuring angel ornaments with students’ gift wishes attached. MVMS calls its tree the Hawk Giving Tree and was able to serve 12 families and 40 students with multiple gifts including clothing and other wish list items this year.
At RCES, the Leadership Club and Fuel Up for 60 Club hosted a food drive for families at the school with a goal to provide canned food and snacks for the holiday break to those in need.
In addition, the CLHS Leo’s Club is hosting a toy drive and “Operation Cold Front” blanket drive which supports local homeless veterans; the Because I Said I Would group is providing meals for families; and the Student Council is having a food drive to help stock the pantry at the Community Resource and Recreation Center (CRRC).
Seven campuses in the Smithson Valley corridor team up with the Bulverde/Spring Branch Angels to host “Angel Trees.” This year, 140 families received 1,700 gifts through the generosity of students and parents from Indian Springs Elementary, Johnson Ranch Elementary, Kinder Ranch Elementary, Specht Elementary, Timberwood Park Elementary, Pieper Ranch Middle School and Smithson Valley High School.
Additionally, campuses host their own community service projects during this time of year. At Arlon Seay Elementary for example, first grade students took part in RACKED, Random Acts of Christmas Kindness; and all students participated in a toy drive for Toys for Tots; the theater department at PRMS collected toys for the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio; and at TPES a special event, Barrett’s Bears, honors Barrett Harjo, a former student and son of a TPES kindergarten teacher, with the collection of new stuffed animals and bears which are also given to the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio and the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas.
The Smithson Valley High School basketball teams and Jr. ROTC continued a tradition of partnering to collect toys for the U.S. Marine Toys for Tots program; and the student council at Bill Brown Elementary hosted a “Cover with Kindness” blanket drive for the Bulverde/Spring Branch Angels. They collected 435 new blankets which will be given to every family with their gifts this year.
Rounding out the season of giving, Memorial Early College High School offered several opportunities for students and staff to give back including a food drive which culminated in 839 pounds of food for the New Braunfels Food Bank; collection of socks and underwear for the Comal ISD Council of PTAs Clothes Closet; a gift-card drive for two MECHS families; and a coat drive.
-SVHS Toys 4 Tots.NEF – SVHS students collected toys for Toys for Tots as part of giving back to their community during the holiday season.
-RCESGiving.jpg – Students from Arlon Seay Elementary hosted a food drive for families in need. Pictured are fourth grade students from left, Andrew Sanchez, Nathaniel Moreno, Devyn Siwecki and Kaycee Lee Murray.
-MVMSPrincipal Dustin Davisson with VFW Members.JPG – Mountain Valley Middle School sponsored the Hawk Giving Tree for children in need in the community. Pictured from left is MVMS Principal Dustin Davisson with VFW Post 8573 members, Anna Connel, Robin McCleary, Denise Moore and Cherie McCann.
-All students at Arlon Seay Elementary got in on the spirit of giving this holiday season. Pictured is the entire first grade.
-The Student Council at Bill Brown Elementary hosted a "Cover with Kindness" blanket drive benefiting the Spring Branch/Bulverde Angel tree program.