The halls at Niagara-Wheatfield High School are a beautiful sight, - not only for the festive atmosphere they add to the school, but for what they will mean to local families in need, as well.
Students, staff and community members have adopted artificial trees and taken the time to lovingly decorate them into works of art.
A silent auction will be held and most of the trees will be available to go home with the highest bidder. The trees that aren't up for bid will go to families in need.
Social studies teacher Al Pogel said the tradition started after discussing poverty and how it can affect each person in a family.
"The students wanted to adopt some families for the holidays and the staff came up with an idea to decorate some trees and auction them off for money to buy some families' gifts. We contacted the Salvation Army and they gave us some names of families who wanted to participate, and it has meant so much to the students and staff throughout the years that we continue to do it. It is not uncommon to see the younger siblings of graduates want to take part because they heard so many wonderful things about it," Pogel said.
One afternoon, the halls of the high school were decorated and turned into a holiday showcase. Students gathered together to listen to carols, eat cookies, drink hot chocolate and show off their creations.
"This is what it is all about," Pogel said. He went on to explain "The Salvation Army stopped out and hand delivered the names of the families to us because they know, for this school and this district, that this is a very important thing to all of us. Through the assistance of the Salvation Army, families in need are selected from all over the area and, in particular, our own district. Students and staff work together to show their neighbors how much they care. Great and good things happen every day at Niagara-Wheatfield. We are fortunate to be part of that spirit of giving.
"The Niagara-Wheatfield community is in motion looking to care of all of its adopted families. Through bake sales, the tree auction, the 12-days-of-giving food drive, donations from local businesses and numerous other activities, this year's goal is in sight. Students will take funds that are raised and actually do the shopping for most of the families. Students will also have the opportunity to share time and deliver to some of those same families. To be able to work together for a good cause and have fun in the process, what could be better than that? The spirit of giving and caring is what Niagara-Wheatfield is all about."