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Kids learn new meaning of giving

December 27, 2001

Kids learn new meaning of giving



Hedgesville, W.Va.

By KEVIN VERZICH / Staff Writer


A selected group of underprivileged elementary students was given a Christmas to remember, thanks to a caring group of Hedgesville High School students.

The HHS DECA club, a group of 45 marketing students led by teacher Frank DiNicola, held its 23rd annual Christmas Party in the school's cafeteria Sunday afternoon.

Ten children from Tomahawk and Hedgesville elementary schools enjoyed an afternoon of good food, crafts, magic and a visit from Santa Claus.

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DiNicola said the DECA students prepared and organized the entire event. In fact, the students raised more than $4,000 through donations from local merchants for the event.

"These students are very active in the community,' DiNicola said. "They do everything from picking up trash in the area to helping with the March of Dimes. However, I feel that this is one of the most rewarding programs we have."

DiNicola said the event teaches his students the meaning of giving during the holiday season.

"This event gives the (DECA) students a feeling they will never forget," he said. "And they have done a good job this year."

DECA students compete for prizes given to the top three who collect the most money.

This year's first prize $100 winner was junior Jessica Deaner, who collected $890.

"This event really makes me feel warm inside," Deaner said. "I feel good knowing I was able to help these kids a little."

After a magic show presented by Michael T. Myers of Martinsburg, every child was given a total of $200 worth of presents presented by Santa Claus.

In addition, a surprise gift was given to each child in attendance, a computer system loaded with games and learning programs.

DECA member Nathan Hernandez, a senior, said his father was able to purchase several computers through a bulk purchase government program.

The computers were bought by the school at a greatly discounted price of $35.

"Every child present will receive a computer today," Hernandez said proudly. "There are programs installed like the Reading Rabbit and various games to play for fun."

In addition to gifts, food and magic, every child was given the chance to make a special holiday craft. Craft projects were created by DECA students, who assisted the younger children with the decorating.

Samantha Oldham, DECA member and chairperson for the event, said she looks forward to the party. She thinks it is a great event for the children and everyone has fun doing it.

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