Ticonderoga McKenna Troche wasn’t able to see their faces, but she knows some Ticonderoga children will have a bright Christmas thanks to her hard work.
“I think they’ll smile; they’ll be happy,” Troche said of children receiving gifts through the Giving Thanks to Our Community program at Ticonderoga Middle School. “I’m really glad I could help.”
The Giving Thanks to Our Community program provided three Christmas presents each to 27 elementary school students.
“It’s a great program,” Tracy Price, Ti Middle School head teacher, said. “It’s really a community service for the kids, a chance to give back to the community.”
Price said about 75 percent of the middle school students worked on the project.
The Giving Thanks to Our Community program has been in place four years. Its first three years it was funded by an anonymous donor. This year that person is ill and unable to contribute.
“We really didn’t want this program to end,” said Corey Grey, school secretary who assisted with the effort. “It’s a really nice program.”
Ti Middle School students decided to step up and keep it going. Students held a raffle to raise money to purchase the nearly 100 gifts needed. They sold $5 tickets and awarded three prizes — all the food needed for a Thanksgiving dinner, the food needed for a Christmas dinner and a $150 fuel card.
They raised more than $1,500, spending $1,200 on the holiday gift program. The remaining money will be used for supplies needed to make blankets for local nursing home residents. Those blankets will be distributed on Valentine’s Day.
The raffle was sponsored by the school PBIS — Positive Behavior Intervention Services — and College For Every Student programs.
Jessica Sprague, a seventh grade student, said she feels good about helping others during the holidays.
“I just wanted to help kids who need gifts,” she said. “I know they will be excited. I feel good about it.”
The elementary students receiving the gifts were selected by school staff. The program was completely confidential — and a surprise.
“Families don’t know we’re coming,” Grey said. “We just show up, knock on the door and leave the presents.
“We know this is an important program” she said. “Some kids wouldn’t have Christmas without these gifts. Sometimes the parents cry.”
Grey and Samantha Wells, the school guidance counselor, purchased the gifts at the Ticonderoga Walmart, which provided the presents at a discount.