As the holidays are a time for helping, sharing, gift-giving and spreading good cheer, the Socorro Independent School District embraces those traditions and ensures that their students learn the importance of giving back to their communities.
“Helping others who are less fortunate is essential to making a student a better person,” said Terrie Maya, El Dorado High School’s student activities director. “At SISD, we have great academics, but we also provide great community service projects. There are many endless opportunities to make our communities better and help the people who live in them.”
El Dorado recently completed their annual Aztec Angels project. More than 200 dolls, bikes, trucks and other toys were collected by each of the school’s third period classes to provide gifts for students identified by the Salvation Army.
It’s the school’s biggest community project. Students saved money from their jobs, did fundraisers or got the community involved in helping.
“It makes me really happy because some of these kids have never received a gift,” said Aolani Fierro, a senior at El Dorado. “Some of these kids have never had a Christmas before, so I am really proud that El Dorado was able to grant that for them, even if it’s a little gesture.”
The Eastlake High School Key Club brought holiday cheer to needy high school students in the district. The students set up a giving tree with 106 ornaments that represented homeless high school students in the district. Students, faculty, staff and administration picked ornaments and bought warm clothing such as hoodies, socks, blankets and beanies.
Key Club sponsor Anna Vasquez said she learned from Lorena Cartagena, SISD’s homeless-foster care liaison, that she was having a hard time getting gifts for homeless students in high schools.
“Everybody wanted to donate toys to the little ones,” Vasquez said. “So, we decided we would adopt those students.”
Every Falcon involved in the project was happy to get the opportunity to bring some cheer to the students.
“Everybody deserves to feel joy during Christmas, even if it’s a little bit,” Vasquez said. “Whatever their hardships are in life, I feel like one little present will help these students to know that somebody cares for them. Somebody wants them to feel joy during Christmas.”
Sophomore Diego Chavez said he hopes their gesture inspires others to do the same.
“It’s not just about us,” Chavez said. “It’s about helping the community out. Everyone should get involved.”
Pets were the theme for Bill Sybert School’s holiday giving. The school featured a run-a-thon to raise money and awareness to help animals at the Humane Society. Teachers, parents, students, staff, and community all did their part. There were even dogs available for adoption from the Society.
“As a principal, it is important that I instill kindness and love for others in scholars,” said Gabriela Elliot. “I aim to reach them not just at the academic level but also socially and emotionally. I always tell them we are making this place a better place, one Scorpion, one action, one day at a time, and I am proud to say that my scholars exude kindness and constantly surprise me with their innovative ideas and generosity. I am one proud principal!”
In addition, Team SISD had its 10th annual Winter Warm Up Clothing Drive. Employees chose a name and then provided a coat or jacket and a warm clothing item like socks, a beanie, mittens or a blanket to a student in the district.
“There’s a definite need to help our Team SISD students,” said Maya Kirtley, coordinator of the drive. “Our District Service Center employees always rise to the occasion to take care of our students and help where they can. It’s amazing to see the generosity of our employees and how they ask about the event before we even start promoting it. We’re a family and we see our students like our children. It’s a feeling that is evident all year long.”