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‘Tis the Season for Giving

December 10, 2012

Students Use the Power of Words to Spread the Joy of the Holidays

Students in Ms.Canady’s 7th period Creative Writing class show off the holiday cards they created.

Students in Ms.Canady’s 7th period Creative Writing class show off the holiday cards they created.

George Jenkins High students used the power of words to spread the joy of the holidays. Students in Ms. Jennifer Canady’s Creative Writing classes created more than 250 holiday cards for military men and women stationed around the world for “Holiday Mail for Heroes.” Each year the Red Cross program delivers holiday cards and personal messages created by tens of thousands of Americans to military families.

The activity marked the end to a month-long unit on gratitude. Students were also encouraged to keep gratitude journals and write letters to those teachers who were the most influential in their lives.

For more information please contact Buddy Thomas, Principal, George Jenkins High, 863.648.3566,


R. Bruce Wagner Elementary Students Give Back to the Community

Student with VISTE canned food and boxesStudents at R. Bruce Wagner Elementary learned about the importance of giving as they participated in the 11th Annual Volunteers in Service to the Elderly (VISTE) Canned Food Drive. Since the school opened 11 years ago, each holiday season students and staff have collected cans and non-perishable food items for the food drive. VISTE delivers freshly made hot food to homebound clients in Lakeland, Bartow, Mulberry and Ft. Meade each Tuesday and Thursday. VISTE volunteers currently deliver an average of 1,200 meals each month!

This culture of altruism is reinforced throughout various school programs. For example, in November when R. Bruce Wagner Elementary dads came together for the school’s monthly All Pro Dads Breakfast the topic was kindness. They enjoyed breakfast together and then participated in a short program covering various topics. Dads were encouraged to model kindness for their children in little ways each day. To kick off the month of kindness, dads and kids made cards for children at the Ronald McDonald House in Tampa. Cards will be delivered to children who will be in the hospital during the holidays. Dads and kids meet in the cafeteria on the first Wednesday of every month.

For more information, please contact Julie Ward, Principal, R. Bruce Wagner Elementary, 863.701.1450,


Support Services Department Drive Home a Message of Giving

Area 9 Manager Teresa Mills, drivers and attendants of Polk County Public Schools’ Support Services Department have coordinated with the District’s Hearth Program to “Adopt a Family” for the Christmas holiday. Employees have received a “wish list” from the family, that includes an elderly grandmother and an aunt now supporting four elementary aged children. Workers are hoping to fulfill each item on the wish list and are also working to provide the family with their Christmas meal. The Department’s Administration Staff also adopted two families.

Support Services is also holding a toy drive for the “Heartland for Children’s Rudolph Round Up Toy Drive.” The goal is to provide holiday gifts for local children in need.

For more information contact Kim Kelly, Operations Secretary, Polk County Public Schools Support Services, 863.534.7315,