DECA Club helps create Christmas memories for others

December 18, 2010|By TRISH RUDDER |
  • Abbigale Keifer, a DECA marketing student at Hedgesville (W.Va.) High School, stands behind the elementary school students watching magician Michael T at Saturday's Christmas party at the high school.
Photo by Trish Rudder

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. — All children should experience a good Christmas, and Hedgesville High School's DECA students did their part again this year.

A Christmas party for nine Hedgesville Elementary School and Opequon Elementary School students was hosted Saturday by the DECA Club at the high school.

This is the 30th year the DECA Club raised money to provide Christmas gifts for elementary school children, said DECA coordinator Frank DiNicola, a high school teacher.

"I'm trying to teach the students to give back," DiNicola said.

The nine 6- and 7-year-old elementary school students were hand-picked by their schools' administrators, he said.

The DECA Club is an association of marketing and entrepreneurship students, and the high school's 40 students raised about $3,200 this year from individuals and businesses in Berkeley County, he said.

Abbigale Keifer, 17, a high school senior, said three girls were from Hedgesville Elementary School and six boys were from Opequon Elementary School.

Abbigale was one of the 12 senior marketing students who picked out the presents with the help of wish lists provided by the parents.

Local magician Michael T provided entertainment after the Christmas meal, and while the children were doing a craft project, he got into a Santa Claus costume to prepare for the distribution of gifts.

The girls got Hannah Montana gifts and the boys wanted Toy Story action figures and movies, Abbigale said.

About $325 is spent on each child and includes clothing and shoes, she said. A Maryland resident donated a coat for each child.

"I'm happy because we don't have that much this year, and I'm glad Steven will have a good Christmas," said Tabatha Butts, the mother of Steven Wise, 7.

"Giving gifts gives a warm feeling inside when you know you are helping a child have that Christmas experience that I had every year growing up," Abbigale said.

DiNicola said for the past 30 years, about 300 children received Christmas gifts from the program and about $90,000 was raised by the DECA students.

"My former students also donate to the program," he said.

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