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Dicy McCullough: Some Christmas lessons come in shoeboxes

Itís the week before Christmas
and all through the school
the children are busy
following every rule.
This past Friday I spent the day in Mrs. Annie Heglarís second-grade class at Mount Ulla Elementary School. Mrs. Heglarís dad was in the hospital, so she needed a substitute for the day. Having previously taught music at Mount Ulla for 19 years, I was excited about seeing familiar faces, including Gay Hampton, the teacher assistant for Mrs. Heglar. Having known Gay for many years and knowing how dedicated she is in the classroom, I knew it would be a good day.
After arriving at school, the children soon settled down for morning work and time passed quickly. During lunch, I mentioned to Gay that I didnít have a Christmas story for the newspaper yet. Thatís when she told me about the children bringing items to school for Samaritanís Purse.
Samaritanís Purse is an international relief organization with Franklin Graham as president. This organization, through Operation Christmas Child, delivers donated shoeboxes to make Christmas a little brighter for children around the world.
Mount Ullaís participation began a few years ago as a social studies unit. The goal was to help students understand their responsibility as contributing members of society, which includes caring about others who are less fortunate. Second-grade students and teachers sponsored the shoeboxes this year and invited the whole school to participate.
Over the past few months, faculty, staff and students brought in items such as crayons, candy, socks, hair bows, toothbrushes, toothpaste, pens and pencils. The second-grade classes then sorted the items and filled the shoeboxes in the media center. A parent of a former student at Mount Ulla volunteered to pay the cost of the shipping. In order to get to their destination before Christmas, the boxes were sent several weeks ago.
Harley Anderson, a student in Mrs. Heglarís class said, ěWe made the shoeboxes to give to people because some donít even have a house or a toothbrush to brush their teeth.î
There were other students in Mrs. Heglarís class eager to share their thoughts about Christmas and giving too. Here are a few of those:
Ralph Branch: ěChristmas is not about giving or getting gifts. Itís about sharing. Thatís what my mom told me.î
Dylan Grubb: ěChristmas is being with your family doing stuff and asking questions such as, ëHow did your day go?í î
Evania Gomez-Nichols: ěIf you get a toy, be kind and share with your brother.î
Evania, I hope this Christmas brothers and sisters everywhere, young and old, will take your advice and share their toys.
The students at Mount Ulla during the year have other helping projects besides Samaritanís Purse. These projects include giving food to West Rowan Helping Ministries and donating coats for the coat drive at Salem Lutheran Church. Mrs. Hampton said, ěThis is Mount Ullaís way of giving back and showing that we care.î Itís obvious the students have learned their lessons well and do care about those less fortunate not only at Christmas, but all through the year. We all could learn from their example.

Dicy McCulloughís second book, ěTired of School,î is available on amazon.com, dicymcculloughbooks.com and at local bookstores. Contact her at 704.278-4377.

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