More than 200 students from the Tempe Union High School District, including Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe students, spent Tuesday morning at McClintock High School with kids who could use a boost this holiday season.
Each TUHSD student donated $20, which bought a toy for a student from Edison Elementary School in Mesa. On Tuesday, they distributed the gifts and spent time with the kids.
The day marked the 10th anniversary of the program, called "Smiles of Christmas," and the sixth year it has been hosted by McClintock.
"They are from one of the less fortunate schools in the Valley, and it is something they can look forward to," McClintock senior and chairman for the event Jevin Hodge said. "Seeing how they react, seeing the kid's face, you can tell they truly love this event."
All told, about $4,100 was spent on toys for the approximately 260 Edison students. Edison is a Title 1 school, which means because it is deemed a low-income school, they receive additional funds from the federal government.
Each year a different school is chosen as the beneficiaries.
The $20 "sponsored" a student and the high school students interacted one-on-one with their counterparts on Tuesday. All kindergarten through third-grade students at Edison got to participate in the program.
"The program just grows like wildfire," Desert Vista teacher Crystal McKenna said. "When a student does it one year and they see how powerful it is to give these kids presents, they come back the next. It's a great way for our students to give back to the community."
In the past, toys have gone to schools such as Frank Elementary and Children's First Academy.
"Seeing the joy on their faces makes it an amazing experience," Mountain Pointe student Paige Green said.
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