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FH Elementary goes on a shopping spree with Santa’s workshop newspapers

Vol. 109 No. 51

USPS 439-000

Portage, Pa.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Since 1904

Newsstand Price 75¢

By Amanda Petrunak of Mainline Newspapers

The tables were covered with mugs, Christmas decorations, jewelry, CD cases, toys, hats, and gift bags at the Forest Hills Santa’s Workshop. Everywhere you looked, students were walking around, buying gifts left and right for their family and friends. The workshop ran from Monday, Dec. 9 to Friday, Dec. 13. Each year, the Parent Teacher Organization, sponsors this holiday event. They have been hosting this event for over 12 years now, and it is still going strong. The students bring in lists of names of family members and friends and ideas of what they would like for Christmas. Instead of the children making up lists of toys they would like,

Damian Shrift and Joey Schrader show their enthusiasm for the Forest Hills Santa’s workshop. Photo by Amanda Petrunak.

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this gives them the chance to give back and think of others. The parents send in an envelope with all of the family names, along with some cash for purchasing the gifts. The students enjoy buying the gifts, because they are able to pick them out by themselves. Instead of going to the mall and searching for the perfect gift, Santa’s workshop makes it convenient and affordable for families. The PTO makes a list of popular Christmas items each year, and then they go shopping, filling up all of the tables in the activity room with hundreds of gifts. Some parents and members of the community also come in to assist the workshop. They act as Santa’s helpers in case any of the students needs SEE WORKSHOP, PAGE 17A

Holy Name gets creative with concert

Ellie Long takes a quick picture before the guitar section goes on stage for the Holy Name Christmas concert. Photo by Amanda Petrunak. By Amanda Petrunak of Mainline Newspapers

Woodwinds, guitars, flutes, clarinets, and kazoos were just some of the instruments the Holy Name students used during their band concert on Thursday, Dec. 12. They began their concert with “Jingle Bells” played by the woodwinds and brass. Chorus and band director William Rhoades put a different spin on the

traditional Christmas music by adding electric guitars and sing alongs to the concert. The students even played a song called “Christmas Stomp” on trash cans. They also preformed “Gloria” on drums. The students expressed their creativity by adding their own ideas to the music. “I always like to switch things up. The students work hard all year long, and I want them to have some fun with the music selections,” said Rhoades. The students played different Christmas songs on a variety of instruments. They even used hand bells and drum sticks for added

sound affect. The concert was entertaining for the adults and even the children. The band played, “Yor’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” and “Christmas Don’t be Late.” During the second chorus of the Chipmunks classic, the students pulled out colorful kazoos. They played the whole chorus using kazoos to create the high pitched sound effect of the favorite chipmunks. The younger students laughed and giggled as they sang along to the favorite Christmas song. The choir also added a special twist on Christmas classics. For instance, SEE CONCERT, PAGE 4A

Alex Boyles, Emma Gittings, and Alexis Pompa, Santa’s helpers, show off their guitars at the Holy Name Christmas chorus concert. Photo by Amanda Petrunak.

Zachary Hodge, a first-grader at Portage Elementary Middle School shows the personalized inside of his group’s cards. Photo by Chris Hochrein.

Portage students send creative cards to troops

By Amanda Petrunak of Mainline Newspapers

In the sprit of Christmas, the Portage Elementary students decorated Christmas cards and sent them to members of the United States military. Second grade teacher Jennifer Thomas has been coordinating this event for the past five years, and this year marks her sixth year. She works with kindergarten teachers Tammy Jubina and Erin Sossong, first grade teacher Sarah Ezral, and Dean of Students Jennifer Pisarski. The group of teachers have their classroom students broken up into small groups of four. They break the students up into mixed age groups. For instance, an older fifth or sixth grade student may act as the group helper when placed with younger students. The children are given four cards each. Each child has a single piece that is put together to make the first card. The second card is a puzzle that the group puts together as a team. The third card is plain, allowing the students to draw and create their own artwork. The final card is a regular card that the group writes messages inside for the troops. The students sign their names and SEE CARDS, PAGE 18A

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