Guidance Department Continues Annual Holiday Adoption Program


Kidus Tewodros

Lauri Cunningham discusses holiday adoption program with a student.

When the holiday season begins to approach, Westside High School hosts its annual holiday adoption program. During the program, different homerooms “adopt students” from different elementary schools and pool money together in order to anonymously provide these students with gifts they otherwise wouldn’t receive during the holiday season. These gifts can range from new toys to warm clothes to keep students comfortable during the winter. The guidance department, specifically Vicki Londer, along with Kathy Toner and Lauri Cunningham lead this effort.

“Teachers [from the Westside community] elementary schools know the families of [students who wouldn’t get that much during the holiday season] and they ask us to help,” Cunningham said. “Teachers send all the names [of elementary students] to Dr. Londer, and then she organizes [the gift giving process] and distributes [the presents.”

This is Cunningham’s third year helping out with the holiday adoption process, and in that time she said she has seen participation grow among students and staff from Westside High School. 

“[The gifts] are anonymous so we don’t receive much feedback from families [who have been impacted from this program,” Cunningham said. “[Elementary teachers] tell us that the families are so happy and extremely grateful.”

Cunningham said she is grateful to all of the students from the high school for being so generous and empathetic to these elementary schoolers. This event shows Cunningham how great the students of Westside High School are.

“We wrap the presents up, put them in trash bags, and take them to the guidance office on a certain day in december,” Cunningham said. “[Members of the] westside community, come pick the presents up and deliver them to various elementary schools.”

Sophomore Elise Smith played a very big role in the holiday adoption project this year.

“Mrs. Cunningham [and I] are pretty close, and she invited me to come down [to room 220] to [help facilitate] the holiday adoption this morning,” Smith said. “There were a lot of students [willing to help] right off the bat.”

Smith said it made her happy to see people motivated to do such good things and she is planning on taking part in the holiday adoption with her remaining 2 years of high school.