By Steve Gust
The Sooner Catholic
This month, the students at Mount Saint Mary Catholic High School in Oklahoma City continued their ongoing mission of giving back by donating dozens of Christmas gifts to third-grade and fourth-grade students at nearby Lee Elementary.
In all, some 134 youngsters received Christmas gifts.
The Mount's director of communications, Jessica Stiles, said the outreach was the idea of the MSM National Honor Society. Eventually, all students ended up participating in one way or another.
Giving back to the community is now the proud tradition for the Rocket student body. Each year, the school partners with the community to provide gifts. Last year, Stiles said, it was Shidler Elementary.
"It was great fun to see our students get excited about helping the children in the neighborhood," Principal Talita DeNegri said. "This is one of several projects where the Mount family joins together for the sake of our community."
Gifts were delivered to Lee on Dec. 13.
Starting in November, students began picking ornaments from an Angel Tree in the school hallway. Each ornament instructed them whether to get a gift for a boy or a girl. The teens bought the gifts, wrapped them and then brought them to school to be delivered to the children.
Moving 134 gifts proved to be something of a challenge.
"That was probably the only mistake I made," Stiles said. "I had 15 students helping to take the presents. I needed 30!"
Once at Lee Elementary, the school's principal insisted on the benefactors visiting one of the third-grade classrooms to see the impact of the gifts. Student Saran Evans, who also is the MSM National Honor Society president, said she was touched by what she saw.
"It was rewarding to see the joy in the kids' faces when they received their presents. It also was rewarding to see our community come together for the benefit of others during the Christmas Season."
In addition to the Angel Tree charitable cause, Stiles said the Spanish National Honor Society worked with the Latino Agency to help make a difference in the community during the Christmas season.
Steve Gust is a freelance writer for the Sooner Catholic.