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Senior class chips in to make family's Christmas brighter

The Class of 2023 closed out 2022 by spreading holiday cheer while hoping to start a new Elizabeth High School tradition.

The senior members of the EHS Student Council (kneeling in front, above) launched an effort in December to raise money from their classmates to help a family in need at Christmastime.

One of those senior leaders, Taryn Crookshanks, said the idea came from a conversation with special education teacher Andi Smith. She said all it took was a simple post on the seniors' Instagram account saying the class had adopted a family to help, and any donations, big or small, could be dropped off at Ms. Smith's class. They were then able to match those contributions from the senior fund to provide some literal and figurative warmth for an anonymous family in Elbert County.

The class raised enough money to buy each of the family's two elementary-school age daughters a winter coat, hat, scarf and gloves. Each girl also received two gifts from a wish list they created on Amazon, and the family was given a $140 Safeway gift card so they could have a nice Christmas dinner.

"I was actually really surprised about how many people were like, 'Oh, I'll donate' and just went and gave some money," Taryn said, "which I think was just super cool to see our senior class going out and actually wanting to help."

The Elbert County Coalition for Outreach coordinated the identification of a family that could benefit from assistance as well as the delivery of the gifts. The seniors do not know whom they helped but they were assured that they did help. 

"It was just cool, especially during Christmastime, because we all love Christmas," said senior StuCo member Sadie Schmidt. "It's just such a fun, family holiday, and to be able to give the joy and excitement that we have from our Christmases with our family and provide that for somebody who was less fortunate and didn't really have that -- it was fun to be able to help them and bring them the Christmas spirit."

The senior class now has a challenge to future seniors: Carry on the tradition and help another family each year.