Photo by Mireya Acierto
Santa finished making his list (and checking it twice) last Friday before heading to the North and South Pole at Cooper Elementary School. The list included all the good boys and girls that have been very, very nice.
Santa and his little helpers at the Chicago Public Schools made holiday wishes come true for each and every student at Cooper Elementary. Santa handed out dolls, skateboards, balls, books, and even some clothing and accessories.
"It’s just amazing,” said Cooper’s assistant principal, Francisco Yanez, about watching the students open their gifts. "The students are extremely joyous."
As are the parents. “They love this program. They are very grateful,” Yanez said. “The parents always say thanks because they know this may be the only gift their child receives this year. They tend to get really emotional and appreciate that this program exists at our school.”
The gifts were collected as part of the CPS Letters to Santa program, in which needy children from schools with high poverty levels compose letters asking for holiday gifts. CPS employees purchased gifts of no more than $25. The gifts were then wrapped, delivered and distributed to the students who wrote the letters. At least 700 gifts were delivered to Cooper Elementary this year.
About 30 classes got to spend time with Santa at the Cooper Elementary North and South Pole respectively. Santa handed out gifts to each class, one happy student at a time. And on that day, Yanez said he and several staff members noticed that something different was occurring at school. He said a teacher summed it up best:
"’This is the quietest I’ve seen these students all year.'"
Learn more about Cooper Elementary School, 1624 W. 19th St.
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Article written by C. Payton.