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Oconomowoc High School students give presents to more than 200 Hadfield Elementary students

OHS students smiling with 1st grader Scarlett
Posted at 4:24 PM, Dec 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-15 12:13:04-05

WAUKESHA, Wis. — Christmas cheer was on full display at Hadfield Elementary School Tuesday morning, and it was all thanks to students at Oconomowoc High School (OHS), and an initiative a student started.

Fifteen years ago, a student at OHS came up with an idea to 'Adopt a School' and bring necessary supplies such as pencils. Over the years, the idea grew from necessities to presents.

OHS students smiling with 1st grader Scarlett
OHS students smiling with 1st grader Scarlett

Around Thanksgiving, students in the DECA program, a Marketing club offered at the high school, get the names of students and their wish list.

​"You just get a wish list, you just see them on paper, but actually seeing them in real life and connecting the names and stuff, it's something really special," OHS Junior Megan O'Brien said.

Hanley Kencharek holding up her gifts
Hanley Kencharek holding up her gifts

Classroom after classroom, high school students read off names and handed each student a present. Each gift box had to have a book in it and at least one toy, but students went above and beyond.

"Mrs. Bentfield was asking us questions about what we wanted for Christmas, and I wanted this," first grader Scarlett said holding up her toy.

"Just look behind us, look at their smiles, look at what's happening. This is the meaning of Christmas," Santa smiled.

Paige Westerman is the chair of the the program and a junior at OHS. She told TMJ4 that it's not only a happy eventful day, but also a learning lesson.

"It makes me so much more grateful for what I have. It's really eye-opening," Westerman stated.

Above all, Westerman and her peers said it's humbling to be able to gift these children especially knowing that some may not have get Christmas gifts.

OHS DECA advisor, Jennifer Starke-White, said this gift giving day is something she looks forward to and she loves that the students get really into.

She also said that every year they try to pick a different school, so next year it will be another group of kids who will benefit from the generosity of the OHS community.

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