Holiday Wishes for Community High
Holiday Wishes for Community High
Posted on 12/23/2017
Community High students stand together at their annual gift exchange.By: Benjamin Rickert, Communications Department

The students at Community High School know first-hand about the wonderful generosity of the holiday season! It started with lunch at the Biltmore Estate and ended with a gymnasium full of presents, decorations, and music. It was part of an ongoing tradition as community members reached out to their local students to be sure every one of them had a memorable holiday.

Nicole Washburn is a Youth in Transition Tutor who works alongside students in a number of high schools, including Community High. When she heard about the celebrations in years past, she wanted to get her church, Trinity Presbyterian of Asheville, in on the action. Specifically, she envisioned giving a meaningful gift to each of the 140 students.

Community High students at the Deer Park Inn.“I went to Trinity and said, ‘We have the coolest opportunity,’ and they just jumped on it,” said Washburn. “Within two weeks, all one hundred and forty students were claimed by a family.”

Each student created a short Wish List, which was then anonymously provided to a family who decided which item to purchase and wrap for the gift exchange. After students returned from a luxurious lunch at Biltmore’s Deer Park Inn, an event generously sponsored by Mosaic Realty for the past five years, students walked through the doors of their school to see 140 wrapped presents waiting for them.

“This is also a day about connection between staff and students outside of the classroom setting,” said Mr. Jon West, the school’s Social Worker. “We get to bond and let them know that people they don’t even know out in the community are willing to step up and doing something special for them.”

Along with the school’s staff, several members of Trinity decorated the school in preparation for the students. Jennifer Smith stood with Louisa Perkins and Louisa’s son John. The group explained that the church has a history of doing Christmas projects together and that “it is a reflection of people’s hearts this time of year.” They wanted to be sure that everyone feels loved and knows they are important during the holidays.

“It’s really awesome to see the surprise on their faces,” said John.

Students pose for members of Trinity Presbyterian of Asheville.As the students unwrapped their gifts, Trinity Pastor Chad Smith spent his time getting to know them. He was glad to lend a hand and grateful to tangibly express his faith during an important time of year for his congregation.

“We jumped at the opportunity, just to show the love of Jesus, and to dignify them, made in the image of God. Our agenda is simply that: to love on these students. So, this was a great opportunity to do this,” said Pastor Smith. “Like all of us, they could use some love in the Christmas season. It’s a hard time of year for a lot of people and it’s a small thing we can do.”

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