Faculty, staff create ‘Santa’s Workshop’ at J.D. George Elementary School

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VERONA — The faculty and staff at J.D. George Elementary, 5647 East Main St., came together to make sure every student had the opportunity to give during the holiday season.

Faculty member Eileen Bleaking spearheaded the effort with the goal of gathering at least one item for each of their nearly 400 students.

Once presented with the idea, the faculty and staff showed overwhelming support, donating more than 700 items for students to choose from.

“It has been wonderful to watch them pick that special gift for someone,” said Bleaking. “It’s wonderful that every student will have the opportunity to experience the joy of giving this season.”

Because of the amount of donations, many of the faculty and staff members stayed late on Friday evening to set up the workshop, with rows of jewelry, candles, books, scarves, household items and other items.

“This brought the faculty together in such a meaningful way,” said faculty member Rachel Pace, “Everyone enjoyed working together to create this event for our students. We are grateful to our co-workers for all of their help, and our principal (Gary Bissailllon) for providing snacks as we all worked to make this happen.” 

On Monday, every student’s eyes lit up when it was their turn to walk into the decorated gymnasium and select their special item, the organizers said.

Once they had made a decision, students brought their items to the gift wrapping station, where VVS National Honor Society students carefully wrapped each gift.

“You can see the pride in their eyes as they show off the perfect gift that they found for their loved one,” Bleaking added. “The happiness they radiate leaving our workshop with a beautiful present is inspiring. We hope to make this an annual tradition so every child at J.D. George can experience the magic of giving.”

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