PAA Hosts Head Start Christmas Party
Most of the students at Portland Adventist Academy (PAA) spent the first day of Christmas vacation as they have for the last several years—by sharing God’s love and blessings with 106 children from the Knott Head Start Center, located near the academy. The children were invited to PAA for the annual Christmas party sponsored by the student association. While on campus, the children saw Santa Claus, received gifts, sang Christmas carols, played games and ate lunch with their sponsoring students.
The children’s names, ages and clothing sizes had been obtained prior to the party so gifts could be provided for each child. PAA students personally selected and bought the gifts at local stores.
Summer Mathis, student association president, estimates that each child was provided with at least $50 worth of presents. This would mean that PAA students provided more than $5,000 of their own money for the gifts. Mathis also estimates that at least 75 percent of PAA’s students participated in the gift-giving.
Following the gift exchange in the gym, the Head Start children could visit with Santa, played by a PAA faculty member, and get their hands and faces painted by art teachers Jim Robertson and Mark Kooy. They also got to fish for candy canes and play other games.
A highlight of this year's party was the performance of Christmas carols by a quartet dressed in costumes from England's Dickens era. The quartet also led PAA students and their Head Start guests in singing Christmas songs.
Mathis is proud that her fellow students cared and found an opportunity to help a group in the community that could benefit from their desire to share their love of Jesus Christ. By putting aside personal plans and performing these acts of kindness, students were able to have a good time while showing that today’s academy students do know who their biblical neighbor happens to be.
Jonathan Lovenguth, student association faculty sponsor, stated that the student association is planning to build on this Christmas party with students visiting the Head Start center on a regular basis to read to and identify with the children.