Local high schoolers help elementary students have a special Christmas

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Fenwick High School students give Middletown Elementary students early Christmas celebration.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Thanks to Bishop Fenwick High School students, Christmas came early last week for hundreds of Middletown elementary students.

Students at the Rosa Parks school were showered with gifts, songs from Fenwick’s choir, snacks and visits by Santa.

The early holiday celebration left the Middletown students, most of whom come from low-income families, beaming with joy.

“Not all of our students get the chance to have a traditional Christmas like they see on TV or in the movies,” said Rosa Parks Elementary Assistant Principal Tracy Neeley.

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Fifth-grader Jacquel Keller, left, opens a gift during a special event Wednesday, Dec. 19 at Rosa Parks Elementary School in Middletown. Students from Fenwick High School organized a toy drive to donate gifts to students at Rosa Parks Elementary School. Hundreds of presents were donated and each student at Rosa Parks received a gift Wednesday, Dec. 19. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Fifth-grader Jacquel Keller, left, opens a gift during a special event Wednesday, Dec. 19 at Rosa Parks Elementary School in Middletown. Students from Fenwick High School organized a toy drive to donate gifts to students at Rosa Parks Elementary School. Hundreds of presents were donated and each student at Rosa Parks received a gift Wednesday, Dec. 19. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

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Fifth-grader Jacquel Keller, left, opens a gift during a special event Wednesday, Dec. 19 at Rosa Parks Elementary School in Middletown. Students from Fenwick High School organized a toy drive to donate gifts to students at Rosa Parks Elementary School. Hundreds of presents were donated and each student at Rosa Parks received a gift Wednesday, Dec. 19. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

“So our hearts are overflowing that Fenwick is supporting us by providing this amazing opportunity and blessing they are for our students today. I hope they (Fenwick students) realize what a positive impact they are making on our families.”

After being asked to collect 569 gifts, the students blew past that goal by bringing in more than 750 presents. The remaining gifts will be allocated to the Middletown Dream Center’s Homeless Present Drive for Children at the Middletown YMCA.

Fenwick’s partnership for the joint Christmas celebrations with a rotation of Middletown schools is now into its second year.

The Catholic Fenwick school is located on the eastern border of Middletown just inside the Warren County line. Established in 1952, the school has a long history of community service in both Butler and Warren county communities.

“We are always seeking opportunities to help our neighbors in need,” said Bishop Fenwick Principal Blane Collison.

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“Our connection with the Middletown community is still very prominent in many of our programs and service projects, so this is the perfect opportunity to stick to our roots and make the holidays better for the people in our community,” said Collison.

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Fenwick sophomores Morgan Guyler, left, and Mackenzie Zlotnik hand out candy canes to students during a special event Wednesday, Dec. 19 at Rosa Parks Elementary School in Middletown. Students from Fenwick High School organized a toy drive to donate gifts to students at Rosa Parks Elementary School. Hundreds of presents were donated and each student at Rosa Parks received a gift Wednesday, Dec. 19. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Fenwick sophomores Morgan Guyler, left, and Mackenzie Zlotnik hand out candy canes to students during a special event Wednesday, Dec. 19 at Rosa Parks Elementary School in Middletown. Students from Fenwick High School organized a toy drive to donate gifts to students at Rosa Parks Elementary School. Hundreds of presents were donated and each student at Rosa Parks received a gift Wednesday, Dec. 19. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

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Fenwick sophomores Morgan Guyler, left, and Mackenzie Zlotnik hand out candy canes to students during a special event Wednesday, Dec. 19 at Rosa Parks Elementary School in Middletown. Students from Fenwick High School organized a toy drive to donate gifts to students at Rosa Parks Elementary School. Hundreds of presents were donated and each student at Rosa Parks received a gift Wednesday, Dec. 19. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Fenwick asked each of its grade levels to buy gifts targeted to one of the kindergarten-through-fifth grades in the elementary school. Fenwick girls were instructed to buy for the young girls, while the boys were instructed to purchase for the Rosa Parks boys.

“Many of our students have never been in a position to not receive presents at Christmas, so this project has been very eye opening for them,” said Fenwick Student Council Coordinator Tammy Longworth.

Fenwick students lingered, interacted and played with the Rosa Parks students as part of the celebration.

“I believe that there is a lot both groups can learn from each other,” said Longworth.

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