Have yourself a Wylie Way Christmas

Student organizations buy Christmas presents for kids in need

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photo credit: Courtesy photo

Spreading Christmas cheer \ Beaming with their successful target haul, the cheerleaders reveal the tags they purchased for the Wylie Way Christmas and Holidays event. “It’s a really rewarding feeling to give back and know that you’re the reason a kid will get to open a present,” head varsity cheerleader Campbell Andrews said.

writer: Gloria Olajimi, Staff Reporter

In the spirit of giving, school clubs, organizations, and teams from across the district are using this time of year to give to those in need. The city of Wylie has begun it’s annual Wylie ISD Christmas and Holidays event in which students from the Wylie school district purchase gifts for families with financial needs and provide service to the community. The event is orchestrated by administrators such as Family Liaison Joley Martin from the school administration department.

“Each year, families with a financial need register for gifts to offset difficulties these families face during the holidays. This year, we had 1104 students and their siblings sign up for this event,” Ms. Martin said. 

Gifts this year include nearly 20 bicycles, lots of slime kits, barbie doll playhouses, drones, fidget toys, various clothing items and lots and lots of books.”

— Jacob Cline, AFJROTC cadet

The process begins with families requesting gifts. Their gift requests are inputted on an itemized list of tags. Schools can then raise money to buy, or adopt tags and purchase items with the raised money. 

“We all get together and select Wylie Way ‘angels,’” head varsity cheerleader Campbell Andrews said. “Angels are kids in our community whose parents can’t afford Christmas presents. We ‘adopt’ these angels and buy them toys and clothes and anything on their wishlist.”

Students brought their gifts to their school campuses Nov. 6 for the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) to pick up and drop off at Draper Intermediate School, the location from which families will come to pick up their gifts.

Families will come at a specified date and time to pick up their items,” Martin said. 

Several organizations including JROTC, National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, TAFE and the cheerleaders have all raised money for the angels they adopted. Students visited local stores to shop for a variety of presents. 

“Gifts this year include nearly 20 bicycles, lots of slime kits, barbie doll playhouses, drones, fidget toys, various clothing items and lots and lots of books,” AFJROTC cadet Jacob Cline said.

Known for its major contributions to Wylie Way Christmas and Holidays, AFJROTC set a goal to adopt 50 tags this year, $7,500 worth of gifts. They were eventually able to purchase 70 tags in a matter of weeks, or $10,000 worth of gifts, nearly doubling the amount of tags they bought last year. 

“I love seeing the bonding that occurs when the cadets go shop for the kids,” Cline said. “You can see the excitement on everyone’s faces when they realize that all of the hard work to raise the money turns into a physical gift that is going to make someone very very happy on Christmas day.”

Unlike other school fundraisers and events, students are not offered any rewards for reaching specific financial goals for the Wylie Way Christmas and Holidays. Students are encouraged to give simply out of love for their community. 

“This event has always been important to us because we are a community-focused, service-focused organization. The whole process is unreal, and one of the greatest things we have the privilege of being a part of,” Cline said. 

The Wylie Way Christmas and Holidays event provides irrevocable proof that the spirit of giving is alive and well in Wylie, Texas. 

“Giving is an experience everyone can participate in and this event is a representation of all the love, generosity, and compassion our city has for one another,” Martin said. “We love this event and it’s loved by others as we have never had a tag left unclaimed before we left for Thanksgiving break. This year is no different.”