Finding ways to give back
We're counting down to the holidays at Marysville High School — and, of course, winter break. It shows. There are Candy Cane Gram posters in the hallways, Adopt-A-Family reminders in the announcements and a Toys-for-Tots box in the library. Long before any of that showed up, however, students were getting into the holiday spirit — and getting ready to give back to the community.
For a couple of months now, the students of MHS have been preparing for a big community event: Christmas in the Park.
It began in early October, when the AP Government class got a visit from then-Marysville City Councilman Ricky Samayoa. After his presentation, he invited the class to ask questions. One student, senior and ASB president Gabriella Portillo, raised her hand to volunteer a big one.
She wanted to see if there might be a way to organize a Christmas event like one she'd been to in another city — Christmas in the Park.
He was excited by her idea, as was the class's teacher, Steve White, but cautioned her that it might be too late in the year to get it running — perhaps next year. Nevertheless, a college-ruled sign-up sheet wound its way around the room, and nearly half the class signed it.
On Oct. 22, after collaborating with Samayoa and Marysville Police Cpl. Gabrielle Carter, Portillo sent a mass email to every student who'd signed the sheet with good news — Christmas in the Park was set to go for this year.
Several students, including, but not limited to, Amber Eason, Brittany Diaz, Rachyl Nix, Teri Munai and Angelica Villalobos stepped up to help. Sponsors and donors like Frank M. Booth Inc., Copy City, Friday Night Live, St. Joseph Catholic Church and MHS have stepped up as well — and now the event is scheduled for 3-8 p.m. Saturday at SJ Field Park (aka Circle Park) on Rideout Way between Greely Drive and Boulton Way in Marysville.
"Of course, I love Christmas, but more importantly, I love giving back to the community. And since the Christmas season is such a wonderful time full of joy, I feel that it is a great chance to bring the community together so that we can all celebrate together," Portillo said.
"The whole project has been a lot of hard work, but giving back should be a moral obligation that we all have," she added.
The main point of Christmas in the Park is to bring the community together to celebrate the holidays and have some fun. Local businesses will sell food. Schools, clubs, churches and other groups will host various activities. There will be games, music and competitions, such as a Christmas tree decoration competition.
Community members who wish to give back can do so easily — they can donate unwrapped toys for Toys for Tots; or donate scarves, hats, mittens and coats to clothe the needy; or even write a card for the people in the care homes.
The students of MHS are looking forward to seeing their efforts pay off and hope to see you all there.
Faith Denny is a senior at Marysville High School. Her column appears every six weeks in Education.