• 72°

Overton Elementary students get a Christmas surprise

By Rebecca Rider

For the Salisbury Post

SALISBURY  — It was the last day of school before winter break, and students at Overton Elementary School sat cross-legged on the floor dressed in their pajamas.

They clutched paper bags topped with colorful tissue paper and struggled to sit still, half-jumping up or wiggling in place. When Principal Candice Austin gave the OK, the kids tore open the bags and soft gray sweatshirts tumbled out.

This is the second year the staff at Overton Elementary gave gifts to students. Last year, each student received a pair of sturdy shoes in their size. This year, it was sweatshirts to keep away the cold.

The gifts were the brainchild of Fran Lescoe, Communities in Schools site coordinator. In addition to helping students succeed in school, Lescoe said the agency gives out food and clothes.

“I give away sweatshirts all the time,” she said. “So obviously, this was a big need.”

As with last year’s Christmas gift of shoes, this year Lescoe went around and got the shirt size of each and every student. Then she placed the order for the sweatshirts.

Like other area elementary schools, Overton requires students to wear uniforms, and uniform code specifies that sweatshirts can’t have a hood or a logo. According to Lescoe, shirts like that can be hard to track down.

“Our kids, with our population, have a hard time finding something to wear,” she said.

The shirts were funded by an anonymous donor, but the surprise was a labor of love by Lescoe and the staff at Overton. Teacher assistants helped cut out name tags, and Lescoe wrote the name of each student on his or her own bag. Then she packed them – much of that done at home, on her own time.

“I was just in a room – rolling, stuffing, rolling stuffing,” she said with a laugh.

“This is kind of a personal challenge she sets out to conquer,” Austin said of the gifts.

But the giveaway also allows staff members to build stronger relationships with students, and it helps students who may lack cold-weather clothing.

“It provides them with something they do need at school,” Austin said. “Sometimes they don’t always have warm clothing to wear to school.”

For Overton, the gift-giving is a way to end the calendar year with a bang. Staff and students were invited to wear pajamas to school Friday, and students were serenaded by the Knox Middle School band. Volunteers also read “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” and students were treated to cookies and hot chocolate.

But the crowning moment was seeing the smiles on students’ faces.

“It was amazing,” Lescoe said. “It was so much fun.”

Comments

Crime

One charged, another hospitalized in fight between cousins

Local

Bell Tower Green renamed to honor Stanbacks; Nancy Stanback receives key to city

Business

Commissioners green light additional houses at Cherry Treesort in China Grove

Education

A.L. Brown will hold in-person, outdoor graduation

Local

Granite Quarry awards FEMA contract for Granite Lake Park

Local

City to vote on apartment developments, final phases of Grants Creek Greenway project

High School

High school football: North receiver McArthur a rising star

Columnists

Carl Blankenship: Pollen and prejudice make their return

News

Harris pitches $2.3T spending plan on trip to North Carolina

Nation/World

Murder case against ex-cop in Floyd’s death goes to the jury

Crime

Sheriff’s office: Man takes deputies on chase with stolen moped

Coronavirus

Afternoon, evening COVID-19 vaccination clinic planned Thursday

Crime

Concord man charged with woman’s murder in drive-by shooting

Ask Us

Ask Us: Have city, county elected officials received COVID-19 vaccine?

Local

City gives away nearly 100 trees during ‘We Dig Salisbury’ event

Local

Political Notebook: Bitzer expects most ‘Trump-like’ candidate to be favorite in state’s Senate race

Crime

Blotter: Concord man arrested in Rowan for indecent liberties with children

Coronavirus

Half of US adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot

Nation/World

Police: FedEx shooter legally bought guns used in shooting

News

Hester Ford, oldest living American, dies at 115 … or 116?

Local

Size of pipeline spill again underestimated in North Carolina

BREAKING NEWS

Kannapolis Police searching for suspect who fled scene of homicide

Education

RSS superintendent talks district’s future, strategic plan survey

News

Complaints and fines pile up against unpermitted landfill in southwest Rowan County