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RUFF boys ‘adopt’ Morris elementary first-graders

Sponsor Anthony Graham, third from left, coordinated RUFF's work with students and teachers at Morris Elementary School. (CONTRIBUTED)
Sponsor Anthony Graham, third from left, coordinated RUFF’s work with students and teachers at Morris Elementary School. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Boys in RUFF (Ready yoUrself for the Future) spread holiday cheer with gifts to first-graders at Morris Elementary School in Huntsville.

Joining the effort were RUFF members and seventh-graders in sponsor Anthony Graham’s math class at Discovery Middle School. These students ‘adopted’ 116 first-graders at Morris elementary.

“For Brenda Hood’s class, we gave each student a stocking filled with candy, a fleece blanket and either a race car or Barbie doll,” Graham said.

Graham and Hood met in December when his Huntsville/Madison CONNECT leadership class visited Morris elementary. “I did an art project with her class and started to ask the question, ‘What is Santa Claus bringing you this year?'”

The Morris students told Graham they weren’t expecting much or anything at all for Christmas. “I was devastated and asked Ms. Boyd and the principal at Morris if I could sponsor her class for Christmas,” he said.

RUFF boys Blake Batchelor and J.P. DiPierto delivered gifts to Morris with Graham, Wesley Malone, Charlotte Jones, John DiPierto, Lorie Wilson, Ryan Foy and Heather Batchelor.

One Morris first-grader asked Wesley Malone, “How did you get all these gifts?” Malone told the young boy that Santa had delivered the gifts and asked the Madison students to take the presents to the students at Morris.

“His eyes were as big as his head, and his smile was priceless,” Graham said. “They were so excited.” Hood also was all smiles to receive an oversized stocking filled with teacher supplies.

For Discovery and RUFF, this activity extended beyond just a service project. “It was such an amazing experience to make a young child’s Christmas special,” Graham said. “I’ll never forget their smiles and reactions to the gifts.”

RUFF also attended the Special Needs Awareness Party (SNAP) on Jan. 11 at the Von Braun Center. On Feb. 1, RUFF will conduct its second leadership training of 2014 called “How to Treat a Lady.”

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