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Angels and Elves

As they have done in the past, the 8th graders from the National Junior Honor Society at Hanover Central Middle School in Cedar Lake collected gifts on behalf of children in need through the Angel Tree program at the Hanover Township Trustee’s Office.  This year brought a change in leadership to the Angel program at the Middle School.  Society Sponsor, Stephanie Franco, took over the sponsorship of NJHS this year.  Following in her predecessor’s footsteps, she sent a request to classrooms, offices, and every nook and cranny of the school with the simple request that they consider buying gifts for a child in need.  She also saw it as a learning opportunity for students and encouraged teachers; “Please discuss the idea of buying gifts for a needy child with your first class of the day.  All of the children in this program are from Cedar Lake and would not normally have gifts to open on Christmas. Your class can give them a happier holiday season,” she explained.

students with two green bags filled with gifts

Mrs. Jewett's students were all smiles as they posed in the hallway with the gifts they collected for a local family.  

As a new sponsor, Mrs. Franco wasn’t sure what to expect.  “This year the staff members at Hanover really did a wonderful job to motivate students and get them involved with the Angel Tree program. Staff members really stressed the importance of this charity, since all of the angels are from our Cedar Lake community and students really responded in a great way. It made a huge difference to our students to know that they were directly helping people who may live next door to them, or who may even share the hallways that they walk through every,” said Mrs. Franco. 

Though there was a scant three weeks between the beginning of the project on November 29th and the collection of gifts on December 19th, classes at the Middle School helped 33 children from 25 different families.  The children ranged in age from 6 months to 17 years old.  As the student elves began to collect gifts from classrooms, National Junior Honor Society member Megan Moloney took a moment to recognize how important the program is to her.  “Lots of children don’t have even the basics.  I want all children to enjoy what I have,” she said.  One of the children helped by Megan’s first hour class was 10 years old.  “It’s really special to collect for a younger student,” she added.

students with bags of presents

8th grade National Junior Honor Society members carefully sorted the gifts they collected in Mrs. Franco's classroom.

girl with bicycle

Kara Gliwa, a member of the National Junior Honor Society, with a brand new bike that went to one of the angels in need in the Hanover community.

student with bags of gifts

Elf Dara Barach returns to Mrs. Franco's Christmas workshop with two full bags of gifts for angels in need.

students sorting gifts

It takes a lot of elves to make the wishes of 33 angels come true...

student and teacher

...and all of the elves were under the direction of teacher, Stephanie Franco.

At the end of the day, members of the Hanover Middle School staff carried nearly 50 garbage bags full of gifts into the Trustee’s Office.  “Some classes took two angels this year and many classes emailed me that they "raised too much money" and wanted to share with other classes! What a wonderful ‘problem’ that was to have,” Mrs. Franco smiled.  “It felt great to be a part of this program and I can't wait to see what next year will bring!” 

teachers and bags of gifts

Staff members from Hanover Central Middle School delieverd the huge pile of gifts to the Hanover Township Trustee's Office.