Home Opinion Editorials LHS students help brighten others' lives
LHS students help brighten others' lives
Andrea Waldrop, La Grande High School’s vice principal, started the
school’s Festival of Trees nine years ago. It’s a gift to the community
that keeps on giving, and in more ways than one.
Every holiday season, LHS students form teams to decorate trees set up in the school commons. Before Christmas, the trees are delivered to families in need, making the holiday a little brighter.
The students do their creative best, hanging ornaments, tinsel, popcorn and cranberry strings, and gifts. One tree this year featured stockings filled with toys, scarves and candy, and another had children’s books attached to the branches. Sixty students decorated 16 trees in all. But before the trees were delivered, there was a judging contest. And not just any contest, either.
Instead of casting ballots, voters — students, teachers and members of the public alike — left cans and bags of food under their favorite trees. The food was given to local charitable food pantries. In that way, the festival reached out to even more people in need of a helping hand during the holiday season.
What’s really wonderful about this event is that the students do their work anonymously. Their names are not revealed to the families who receive the trees. They give without expectation of thanks, in true
As for the judging contest, it’s a contest without prizes. The only things the winners get is the satisfaction of knowing they’ve helped their community.
As Waldrop notes, the kids look forward to the festival each year, mainly because they want to make a
That they have. Sixteen families struggling with hard economic times have brightly decorated Christmas trees to enjoy, while local food banks get a boost in the effort to make sure no one goes hungry.
The people who support and work to keep the program going year after year deserve many thanks, even though they’ve never asked for it.