CCC brings holiday joy to underprivileged students


Blot photo by Madison Beekman

Physics teacher Steve Godkin, dressed as Santa, hands a Head Start student his present on Friday, Dec. 13. Godkin was the special surprise, along with other performances at the event.

Francesca Santaniello

As the bell rang for students to go to second period on Friday, Dec. 13, the Cultural Communications Club
(CCC) welcomed children from the Lakewood Head Start program into room 107. The classroom became a Christmas spectacle that included student performances and a special visit from Santa.

Head Start is a program for low-income preschool children to prepare them for school and provide a jump start in early education. CCC gives back to the community by hosting a day where these children can have an unforgettable experience. The CCC council began planning the event in early November. The day was nearly perfect, save for one minor hitch.

“There was a small hiccup with getting the stuffed animals but it was easily overcome once we all just out a little thought to it,” said junior and CCC councilmember Erin Burke of Allentown.

Many students danced, sang, and even read stories. Juniors Maddy Williams of Wall and Brigid McCarthy of Manasquan sang “Winter Things” as one of the nine performances of the day. After performing, Williams enjoyed playing with the kids.

“I think that though they may not have all shown it, the kids loved everything about Head Start,” Williams said.

Juniors Francesca McCaffrey of West Long Branch and Maddie Beekman of Neptune danced together to “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” The kids seemed to enjoy all of the performances, but the special surprise was ultimately their favorite. The big surprise came when Santa entered the room.The young faces lit up when physics teacher Steve Godkin entered the room wearing a red suit and hat.

McCaffrey said she was overwhelmed by the Christmas spirit as she realized that she was giving joy to others during the holiday season. She was especially impressed by Godkin’s Santa routine.

“It was really sweet to watch him interact with the kids and they all seemed appreciative of the gifts,” she said. After Santa said goodbye to the students, the CCC members spent the rest of the time playing with the kids. Sophomore Maggie Schneider of Wall was among these students.

“It’s really important to give back and put a smile on someone’s face during the holiday season, so it was super rewarding to be able to do that for them,” Schneider said.

CCC adviser and Spanish teacher Sabina Campbell explained how important this event was to her, due to her personal connection.

“Before I came to CHS many centuries ago, I was a home visitor for Lakewood Head Start. In this job, I learned not only about poverty, but misery,” Campbell said. “I learned about families that live six in a little room, that eat ‘frijoles’ and rice every day, that get their clothes from Catholic Charity, but that they still have the good heart to tell you, ‘Here señora, have a taco.’ That little that they have makes them happy because it is much more of what they had in their country of origin.”

After the Head Start kids left, CCC president and senior Grace Quakenbush of Wall was left with a full heart knowing she was able to give back to others in need.

“There’s nothing better than getting to see the kids run up to get their presents,” Quakenbush said. “The goody bags we give them is sometimes the only gift they get during the holiday season, so being able to give them toys is always my favorite part.”