The holiday spirit of giving is alive and well in the classrooms and hallways of Batavia High School.
“Batavia High School is sponsoring a Neediest Kids of All Giving Tree,” said health teacher and senior class sponsor Gail Rich. “We identified needy families in our school and asked those children to fill out wish lists. Based upon those lists, we identified stores that they would shop at to purchase those items. Each ornament on the giving tree is a request for a gift card from those stores.”
There are about 25 kids on the list who will be helped by the giving tree and the program is completely student-driven, Rich said.
“We asked students, parents, and community members to take an ornament from the tree and purchase the requested gift card,” she said. “The gift cards will then be given to the families so they can do their own shopping.”
The four high school students that were approached by Rich to help deliver letters to businesses around the community, inform the other students, and help set up the giving tree are Kaylee Jacob, Lora Faris, Taylor Stephens, and Chelsea Zeh.
"The response has been great," said senior class officer Taylor Stephens. "I have seen many students take an ornament off the tree (located in the high school lobby) and bring back a gift card. Some have even taken two or three. We have received many donations and gift cards from the community as well. This was a small idea designed to help needy kids in our school and it has branched off into something remarkable."
The students of Batavia High School take a lot of pride in projects like this and jumped at the chance to help others less fortunate during this year's holiday season, said senior Chelsea Zeh.
"We (the students) love our community and want to help it be a better place to live," she said. "It is important to us and should be important to everyone. There is so much that we can give to people who are in need. I think about how much a difference the giving tree might make in someone's life, especially a child's life. We appreciate the support of the high school and the community and we are asking for their help."
To make a donation, visit the Batavia High School's giving tree, take an ornament from the tree, and purchase the requested gift card.
"If you cannot make it to the high school, gift cards from 10 to 25 dollars from any local store can be mailed by Dec. 19 to my attention at the school," said Rich. "If you would rather give money, just send it to the office or write a check to Batavia High School PTO and we can purchase the gift cards for you. Thank you in advance for helping us make the holidays a little happier for some of our students."
Gail Rich can be reached at (513) 623-7424.