Schools offer students a holiday shopping experience

Schools offer students a holiday shopping experience
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This year at Graham Mesa, Kathryn Senor, Cactus Valley and Wamsley Elementary Schools, students have the opportunity to purchase holiday gifts for all the special people in their lives. The “stores,” which are called Santa Shops and Penguin Patches, are crucial for kids who want to join in the spirit of giving during this holiday season.

“The Penguin Patch is an opportunity for students to buy a secret gift for their special someone,” says Ginelle Chavez, KSE library media specialist. “We have a few families that don't celebrate the holiday so Penguin patch is great because there are holiday items and non-holiday items.”

The Penguin Patch is an annual tradition at CVE that students look forward to every year. According to attendance secretary and CVEPTA President Brandie Yost, all of the students including preschoolers shop for affordable gifts for their family members with the help of parent volunteers and PTA members. 

“Our students are so excited to shop without their parents, and they leave the holiday shop beaming with pride,” says Yost. “The smiles we see are reason enough to continue to bring the Penguin Patch back year after year.” 

With gift prices ranging from $0.25 to $12, each family can set their own budget for their child. WES fifth grader Natelee Fritz has participated in the Santa Shop before, but she says this year has been the best yet. “It's been really fun in my experience and everyone I’ve shopped for has liked their gifts,” says Fritz. “I’m just really happy that I can get someone who I really care about a good gift.”

At KSE, the Penguin Patch company works on the honor system, but with many small items. Chavez decided to display one of each item and create a shopping list with pictures. The kids come in and shop from that list. They give her and other volunteers their list and money, then they fill and wrap the gifts and deliver them to the students.


KSE third graders Kaiden Johnson and Dylann Hughes stopped by the Penguin Patch to shop for their friends, siblings, parents and grandparents. “I used all my money and got a present for everyone in my life, even my sister!,” says Johnson. Hughes says that she plans to take her gifts home and wrap them with her sister before placing them under their family’s Christmas tree.


“This program makes the kids think of what their special people might like,” says Chavez. “I had a kindergartener who wanted to buy slime for her mom because it was cool. So I asked if mommy liked slime and she told me no. So I asked if she thought it would be a thoughtful gift. She said no and picked mom out a beautiful hand-blown glass heart.”

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