“This is one of the most magical times of the year at L’Ecole George Jay” says principal Terri Smith.
Because the Victoria elementary school is gearing up for their Holiday Emporium.
“The school community, as well as the greater community, all get involved,” says Smith.
“We have several local churches that not only come and volunteer, but they donate gifts.”
Angela Carmichael, George Jay Elementary PAC Co-Chair, explains that “it’s a way for children to give back to their families.
“It’s non-denominational. Basically, we get donations from the community, and every child in the school can give the gift of giving to their loved ones. For $1 an item.”
This is the tenth year that the Parent Advisory Council has organized this event. It’s a magical day for the children.
“Part of the magic of the day, I think, is the shopping,” says Carmichael.
Donations dropped off to the school are sorted, then placed on tables in the gym on Dec. 19.
“It’s this huge room, full of potential gifts, [the kids choose what they want, pay $1] and then we wrap them for them, and we tag them for them, and then we send them home with such a sense of pride that they can give a gift.”
Grade four student Gashanti says “it’s really fun, because I get to give stuff to my family, and to my friends, and you get to choose what to give to them.”
“We have a really nice wooden rocking horse,” says PAC Co-Chair Kimberlie Drapeau, listing some of the donations.
“We’ve got some nice barbeque tools for dad, there’s lots of makeup bags, lots of purses…
“We don’t have too many toys at the moment, though, so some more toys would be awesome, for all ages, toddlers, kids, big kids…” says Drapeau.
“It’s really important that we get ‘dad’ items” Carmichael adds. “That is always the scarcest table, and everybody wants to give their dad, or their grandfather, or their uncle a great gift – or even their brother!”
“It’s really fun,” says grade five student Jack. “You get to go with your class, and get four presents for your friends or family!”
Asked if it was difficult to choose the gifts, Jack nodded his head. “Yeah, pretty hard, but the people at the emporium, they’re very helpful.”
Along with the emporium, the school is also holding a fundraising silent auction.
“It’s one of our biggest fundraisers of the year,” says Carmichael. “Last year we made just under $12 hundred dollars.
“All of the proceeds go to the PAC, and that was enough to send the children on field trips, and do barbques, and all of the things that we need money for.”
“It’s a brilliant idea,” says principal Smith, “and it’s so important to our kids. You can see how excited they are!”