Holiday fun and the joyful time of the season has arrived. Moving through the streets of Waltham gives us warmth and happiness looking at the bright lights and colors that are streaming through windows and shining throughout the dark night. You see the diverse colors, the beliefs from around the world by just looking at a window. You see and see, but you don’t really get into details about how people feel throughout the time of thanksgiving and the hope of a new year.
Do you ever wonder how people feel during the happy holidays, the time for giving back and festive spirit? Teachers and students here at Waltham High School feel happy and joyful, their hearts are warmed by giving back to our community and helping others. The sophomore associate principal Chris Gelinas asks for donations from local supermarkets or from around the Town of Waltham to support families that don’t have the money to buy food for their Thanksgiving or holiday meals. Not only do we receive donations, but we also have a coat drive for our students, a pajama collection, and a Secret Santa fundraising event yearly for the Christmas holiday.
The WHS director of social studies Derek Vandegrift organizes Student Santa and assigns the holiday wishes of a child in our community to every A Block class in the high school. A Student Santa representative from each A Block class is in charge of collecting as much money as possible to buy gifts from the child’s wish list. The gifts then get wrapped up on Thursday morning during A Block before winter break. The hundreds of wrapped gifts are brought down to the school auditorium and adorn the stage where student choral and music groups perform holiday music. The entire school attends the Student Santa concert, enjoying the cheerful and joyful holiday music and even a special appearance by Santa. We have been doing this for years now and it’s just become a part of the holiday season at WHS. “There is something out there that is larger than you. That’s the best feeling,” said Mr. Vandegrift. “This year,” according to Vandegrift, “WHS was assigned 350 plus children with Christmas wish lists, the most ever, and thankfully we met the expectations of getting all the children gifts for their Christmas.”
The air is filled with joy and happiness after student Santa and the hours on the countdown for vacation!