Instead of a gift exchange, third-grade students at Central Elementary donated to the Putnam County chapter of the American Red Cross this Christmas. Red Cross representatives Tracy Maynard and Christa Campbell (back) visited the school on Wednesday to collect the donation. Students from Michael Fisher's class (not shown in order) include Phillips Arnold, Larissa Bales, Kayleigh Bond, Braden Bottorff, Nate Clearwaters, Elijah Gibbs, Olivia Gilespie, Caleb Grundlock, Parker Hacker, Elliott Hinkle, Allison Jacobs, Bree Mahoney-Sutherland, Karlie Maynor, Dartagnan Neudeck, Brooke Robertson, Alex Steffy, Drew Steffy and Evan Steffy. Members of Becky Phillips' class (not shown in order) are Zach Brickert, Macie Bumgardner, Grace Burdge, Hailey Cavanagh, Kyle Cunningham, Will Duvall, Tyler Hanley, Eva Hubbard, Olivia Lawson, Brody Morris, Nenny Nichols, Zethor Peterson, Lucas Smith-Lopez, Madison Trisler and Kendra Young.
Some lessons simply don't come in a book, so Central Elementary third-grade teachers Becky Phillips and Michael Fisher take a more hands-on approach at Christmas time.
The teachers have their students learn about giving by replacing the gift exchange with a gift to the local Red Cross chapter. Rather than gifts for their classmates, the students bring gifts the Red Cross gives to children in the aftermath of a house fire.
The different presents include coloring books, crayons, reading books, puzzles and other "kid's stuff." The idea is to take the young victims' minds off the problem at hand.
"We do this every year instead of a gift exchange," Phillips said.
Tracy Maynard and Christa Campbell of the Red Cross visited Central on Wednesday to collect the goods and to talk to the children about the Red Cross and its mission in Putnam County and around the world.
They also expressed their appreciation for the students' generosity.
"We are excited that you have the true Christmas spirit and you have delivered this to kids all over Putnam County," Maynard said.