Warriors Spread Hope for the Holidays

As the final days of December flew by, most students found themselves preoccupied with plans for Winter Break and thoughts of Christmastime. The last week of school in 2019 was marked by decorations in the Commons Area put up by Weddington’s Student Government and the annual holiday-themed Spirit Week. But just as the holiday season is a time of selflessness and charity, Weddington students mark the occasion by giving back to the community – namely in the form of the annual Hope for the Holidays. 

Hope for the Holidays was originated and led by student Caroline Horne in 2014, who organized the event for a total of three years. The torch was then passed down to her sister, Emma Horne, who led the event for two years. This year marks the sixth annual Hope for the Holidays, and it is being run by current senior Carly Rauch. 

The event provides a Christmas and holiday celebration for the elementary and middle school kids at the Boys and Girls Club. All the kids in attendance enjoy a hearty dinner, receive gifts from Santa Claus and their sponsors, and spend time with peers and mentors. Gifts include things like books and toys as well as necessities such as clothing and hygiene items. “We want to show [the kids at the Boys and Girls Club] that they are never alone and that the community is here for support, love, and guidance,” says one of the faculty organizers, English teacher Marisa DiFronzo. “Hope for the Holidays is a truly a school-wide effort.”

The main contributors to the event are National Honor Society and the Mentors Club, whose members sponsor kids and pick out their gifts in small groups of 3 or 4. Several individual classrooms also sponsor kids, as well as smaller clubs such as First Priority. Book donations come from members of National English Honor Society and Literary Society. “We want to make sure that they receive books that are going to turn them on to reading and make it exciting and manageable in order to develop a love of learning,” says DiFronzo. The gathering also involves musical and choral performances by the Tri-M Music Honor Society, and the wrapping paper and supplies are donated by the Science National Honor Society. Food for the event is coming from clubs, individual parents and families, and the PTSO.

For Weddington students, Hope for the Holidays is more than just a chance to celebrate and have fun with friends – it is truly about benefiting the community and providing service for those in need. “[This event] is to remind our students at Weddington not only the importance of being grateful and appreciative, but also giving back not only in terms of gifts but with your time and your kindness,” explains DiFronzo. “Overall, Hope for the Holidays is to remind everyone of the magic of the season.”