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Students in Hedgesville make the season bright

December 20, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - Christmas came early for 10 students from Hedgesville and Opequon elementary schools Sunday when they were treated to gifts and food during an annual holiday party at Hedgesville High School.

The party, in its 24th year, was organized by student members of DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America), a marketing club at the school.

DECA members solicited donations from area businesses for the party, raising $2,000, said Frank DiNicola, marketing education coordinator at Hedgesville High School.

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That meant students could spend $200 on gifts for each of the elementary school students, DiNicola said.

Toys like a bicycle, a model Hummer and dolls were collected for the younger children. Other gifts included educational books, shoes and loads of clothes, DiNicola said.

The gifts were distributed during the party Sunday afternoon, and the event included a turkey dinner and a magic show by Michael T.

The party provides several lessons to high school students, DiNicola said.

Raising the money for the event shows the students how to market an idea, DiNicola said.

Then, there is the old-fashioned Christmas spirit.

"I want them to learn to give. At this time of year, it's very important," DiNicola said.

The elementary students who were treated to the party were selected by principals at their schools, DiNicola said.

Wish lists were developed for the kids, and the lists were forwarded to event organizers at Hedgesville High School.

About 20 DECA members did the shopping, including seniors Kara Barnes and Laura Stratmann.

Stratmann said seeing the reaction on the younger children's faces made the event worth it.

"You get to play with them. It's just so personal," said Barnes.

In addition to the magic show and dinner, the high school students worked on a craft project with the elementary students.

Two turkeys were donated by local businesses for the feast and the high school students prepared covered dishes at home and brought them to the party, DiNicola said.

About 50 students belong to DECA this year at Hedgesville High and about 30 club members came to Sunday's party, organizers said.

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