And smile they did as Santa handed them fire engines that blared, new Barbie dolls, new shoes and clothing and dozens of other gifts. That came after a full Christmas dinner, game time and arts and crafts where they made snowmen out of Styrofoam balls. The 11 children were chosen by educators at Hedgesville Elementary and Tomahawk Elementary.
"It's a nice gift for the community," said Chris Crawford, 17, a senior and president of the club. "People are doing this for the right reason and it's the right thing to do."
"I'm interested in the marketing field, but this is not about business," said Julia Taba, 18, a senior and secretary of DECA. "This is about giving back to the community."
Club members solicited businesses for donations and got about $2,500 worth. Each child got $200 in gifts.
"I wanted my kids to know that it's important to do things for others, especially this time of year," DiNicola said. "All my students are involved. This is a project they don't want to miss. This is something they'll remember all their lives. "
Even when they've been out of high school for a while, some still stay involved.
"We try to help as much as we can, especially the kids," said Carole Henry, 35, who works in the office Panhandle Builders. Her niece helped work on this year's project. Henry was involved in 1983, in the early years of the program.
Then, as now, the idea is to get kids what they want.
"We get a wish list from them and we do our best to fulfill them," DiNicola said.