Christmas shines brighter by acts of Madison students, teachers

Morris Elementary School first-graders happily receive stuffed animals from Anthony Graham, founder of RUFF (Ready yoUrself For the Future). RUFF boys and Discovery Middle School students donated the Christmas gifts. (CONTRIBUTED)
Morris Elementary School first-graders happily receive stuffed animals from Anthony Graham, founder of RUFF (Ready yoUrself For the Future). RUFF boys and Discovery Middle School students donated the Christmas gifts. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Christmas morning’s excitement came early when Madison boys in RUFF (Ready yoUrself For the Future) delivered gifts to 126 first-graders at Morris Elementary School in Huntsville on Dec. 19.

“I saw so many smiles over small gifts,” RUFF sponsor and math teacher Anthony Graham said. “I’m so proud of Discovery Middle School students and staff for donating 75 Barbie dolls, 450 Matchbox cars, 170 stockings and sponsoring 136 teddy bears and stuffed animals.”

“Accompanied by Santa and Morris Principal Patty Boyd, the Discovery delegation went class to class handing out candy-filled stockings and stuffed animals,” John Peck said. Peck works as public relations manager for Madison City Schools.

“It was a day the Morris elementary first-graders will never forget,” Graham said. Discovery seventh-grader Jonathan Purell said he felt good to bring cheer to children who didn’t expect many gifts. “It makes me happy to see them happy,” Purell said.

The Morris project was one of many gestures by Madison students and educators this season. At Bob Jones High School, students gave food boxes at Thanksgiving to military veterans, along with collecting toys and coats for Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes.

Horizon Elementary School’s 80 second-graders donated 657 cans of food to Huntsville’s Downtown Rescue Mission.

James Clemens High School geared its homecoming parade for charitable agencies and collected shoes for Inside-Out Ministries. Liberty Middle School helped 13 families with the Christmas Giving Tree, while baseball players collected food for Thanksgiving meals and Christmas presents.

Central Office and transportation employees ‘adopted’ six needy families. Students visited Madison Senior Center and retirement homes.

For St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Heritage Elementary School’s Math-a-Thon students raised $24,162. “We raised $33,100 through St. Jude Heroes,” director of student services Dennis James said. “We should top $60,000 for St. Jude this year.”

“I believe that teaching students servant leadership, an ancient philosophy but a timeless concept, helps prepare them for citizenship and life in general,” Madison City Schools Superintendent Dr. Dee Fowler said.

To view a video of Madison’s outreach projects, visit youtu.be/zgiUbeYlDHU.

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