HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Students from Grissom High School helped to spread holiday cheer to several McDonnell Elementary students experiencing an “American Christmas” for the first time.
Grissom’s Key Club and Student Council raised money to purchase gifts for eleven ESL (English as a Second Language) students in the school’s Pathways Program.
The Pathways program teaches new ESL students about culture and tradition with the purpose of giving the students a welcoming feeling to the school and a sense of family.
Amy Bergeson, the lead ESL teacher at McDonnell Elementary said she was “so excited” when the Grissom students said they were going to bring gifts. “It definitely takes the pressure off of us as the teachers and it also makes us feel really good knowing that the kids are going to have a good Christmas.”
The Grissom students brought along Santa Claus and a few helpers to sing Christmas carols and open the gifts. This was the first time the ESL students had seen or experienced Santa before, says Berguson.
“We decided that our newcomers really need a sense of a family, per say, so our newcomers come into our classroom every day for an hour to two hours and we really teach them English and we are teaching them cultures and holidays and everything. So when it comes to holiday time, we make a big deal about it.”