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Coronado, Franklin student councils deliver gifts, spread cheer at Lamar Elementary

(LAMAR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL – Dec. 8, 2022) – Santa and his helpers from Coronado and Franklin high schools delivered a sleigh full of goodies to 260 students Thursday at Lamar Elementary School.

The rival high schools’ Student Councils unite every holiday season to spread cheer at an El Paso ISD elementary. The students get a wrapped toy, clothes, a blanket or pajamas and other goodies from the high school students who started securing sponsors and collecting gifts for weeks and months before.

“This is the most rewarding day,” said Coronado Student Body President Tess Mansfield. “We get to see the joy on these faces. I think it’s special that every kid here is getting something for Christmas.”

The two schools split the number of students to sponsor and ensure everyone gets nice gifts and items they need from their wish lists.

“It’s a great working project to bring us together,” said Franklin sophomore Ali Lopez, who helped coordinate the project. “We wrap the gift together, so you’ll see Coronado and Franklin wrapping gifts. It’s beautiful to watch.”

On Thursday, each high school student paired up with one of the younger students to go through a big, unwrapped box with all the presents. Together, they pulled out each of the gifts, building up the excitement to gummy grins.

“We take an oath together that we cannot open until Christmas morning,” Lopez said. “They can look at it, hold it and guess what it is. It’s a lot of fun.”

For Coronado senior Maurice Rios, participating in Holiday Blessings is extra special. He received gifts as a first grader at Zavala through the program. Although he doesn’t remember the exact gift he received, he recalls how it felt back then and how it feels now to give back.

“It feels amazing,” he said. “The first time I did this was last year at Zavala, so it was like full circle. Seeing my old campus, my old classroom. It was nostalgic. I remembered being excited.”

Principal Bertha Martinez is grateful to both campuses for their generosity and thoughtfulness.

“This activity brings joy to our kids and families because some of these kids may not have gotten gifts for Christmas otherwise,” she said.

Fourth grader Valentina Armendariz couldn’t wait to go into the cafeteria to open her box with the high school kids.

“I asked for gifts my parents wouldn’t buy me,” she said, smiling. “It’s exciting. I want to see everyone happy.”