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Santa Shop rates an A-plus with George Waters students

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Why bother with the crowds at the mall if you can do your Christmas shopping in the classroom?

With the help of their teachers, students at George Waters Middle School had the opportunity to tackle their Christmas shopping lists at the school’s annual Santa Shop last week.

"A lot of our kids need help buying gifts for their families," said school resource teacher Shelley Riddell, noting the shop is aimed at helping students less likely to be able to afford gifts for their siblings and parents.

"We want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to give a gift and have a goodChristmas."

Students who registered for the shop had a chance to peruse through rows of new and gently used items, from computer accessories to books, holiday ornaments, clothing, puzzles, toys and more. All at a bargain of a price too — items, donated by staff, the parent council, and the Superstore on Sargent Avenue, ranged from 50 cents to $3.

Students also got a crash course in gift wrapping from staff and were able to take their gifts home the same day.

From Charleswood to Brooklands, the school’s 340 students come from various socio-economic backgrounds, Riddell said.

"Our school motto is to make someone’s day better," she said.  "This is a way to give kids the opportunity to make their family’s day better."

Grade 6 student Tristan hit the shop with a lengthy list of people he needed to shop for — two brothers, two sisters, and his mom and dad.

And he did it all for $7, far less than the $25 he figured he would have spent on each if he went to the mall.

"It was cool," he said, autographing his name on a gift bag for one of his brothers.

Hayden, another Grade 6 student, was able to finish up the last of his Christmas shopping for his three sisters.

"It’s really helpful," he said.

Cheryl Latozke, a resource teacher who helped students with their gift wrapping, said the enthusiasm of the kids who take part in the shop, launched in 2000, has contributed to its success.

"Their little faces light up," she said as one student entered the room, beaming at the stuffed animal he bought for one of his sisters. "It’s good to be around the kids and helping them."

More than 350 gifts were bought this year.

For more, visit http://georgewaters.sjsd.net.

matt.preprost@canstarnews.com

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