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Students Learn The Gift Of Giving
Some students at Riverbank's California Avenue Elementary School will have a brighter holiday this season ... thanks to some other students at Riverbank's Adelante Continuation High School.

Housed on the campus of Riverbank High, students at the continuation school have spent the last few weeks gathering small gifts to place in brightly decorated shoe boxes, with two made for boys and two made for girls. The packages will go to deserving students at the elementary school, not far from the high school campus.

"We started out hoping for one box, we will have four to donate," teacher Susan Lockman said of the effort. "Historically, Billy Graham's son does these gift boxes for children and we thought we would bring it down to the local level."

Asking her students to participate in the project, Lockman said she was pleased when they came through with more than enough to help make the holiday brighter for four of their younger counterparts.

"Laurie Sacknitz, the principal at California Avenue, has identified four students from her school that might not have a Christmas if it weren't for these boxes," Lockman said. "So we have small toys in them and the kids have decorated the shoeboxes with pretty paper."

Students in art classes at the school also added a special extra touch, homemade pop up books especially for the children.

"They were made with special paper, so they won't tear easily," explained Lockman. "They're short stories, a few pages and the kids were illustrating them."

The shoeboxes were to be delivered to California Avenue on Wednesday, Dec. 19, for distribution to the selected students.

Lockman said the project has been good for the Adelante students, with close to a dozen stepping forward to assist by bringing in toys to add to the gift collection.

"We encourage them to focus outside the box," Lockman said of getting them involved in helping others. "To not focus only on themselves."

It has brought joy to the students participating, she added, and knows that the gift recipients will be just as happy to receive the special delivery in time for the holiday.

Adelante has about 60 students and is a continuation high school, started on the Riverbank High campus last year. Lockman said it is typically for those students that need to catch up on credits in order to graduate with their class.