CENTER — Haskin Elementary/Skogland Middle School’s Gift of Reading night and present giveaway Dec. 19 was a huge success, with the cafeteria crowded to capacity with parents and students who came for the chance to win prizes and receive free books from their teachers.
The reading night was Center Schools Christmas gift to elementary and middle school students. The present giveaway is a gift drawing that this year distributed 51 gifts to children in the Center community.
Those attending were serenaded by endearing soloist Maci Cox, who sang “Where are You Christmas” from the movie “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Students wearing colorful costumes then performed traditional Hispanic holiday dance routines.
Teachers and school paraprofessionals helped serve Christmas treats. Assistant principal Sarah Vance welcomed families to the event and announced the evening’s agenda.
Following the snacks and performances, teachers led students to classrooms for the Christmas book reading.
In the kindergarten classroom, Eva the mini-horse size Newfoundland sat with is owner, Joy Werner, while she read Frosty the Snowman to children. Werner is the director for Center School’s Academic Recovery Center.
Teachers and other volunteers in the different elementary classrooms also read Christmas classics aloud for students. When the books were finished, grade levels spread out to other classrooms to engage in craft-making. Once crafts were done, children were allowed to choose a new book waiting in the classrooms for them.
Some crafts were more easily done and others took more time. Students read their new books until Santa Claus came over the intercom inviting them back to the cafeteria for prizes and the new bike giveaway.
Names were then drawn for the winners of the baskets and new bicycles. The expressions of the children winning the bicycles varied from stunned, ecstatic and super-happy to tearful and overwhelmed.
Santa behaved but the Grinch teased the students winning prizes making them work to retrieve them. One child balked at accepting his gift and it was delivered to where he sat. Baskets containing the gifts varied from assorted toys and stuffed animals to food baskets featuring snacks and “movies at home” night treats.
Children happily carted off their prizes, large or small, the grinch was on good behavior finally and Santa was free with hugs and encouragement for everyone.
Parents and children also joined in for a Christmas carol sing-along of Silent Night before the program’s end.