By JEROD CLAPP
NEW ALBANY —
Music, gingerbread houses, dancing and a whole lot of fun made their last day before Christmas break a good one for the students at S. Ellen Jones Elementary School on Friday.
Then Tyler Bliss and a few friends walked in and made it even better.
“Who wants cupcakes?” Bliss, the executive director for the New Albany-Floyd County Education Foundation, was answered with hands flying upward in the air and children exclaiming, “Me!”
The Education Foundation and some private donors went to every classroom, giving each student a cupcake and juice box as a special treat before they celebrate the holidays at home.
Terri Boutin, principal, said the foundation approached her about doing something for the students last week.
“They knew it was last minute and wanted it to be something the kids would enjoy and make our lives a little easier,” Boutin said. “After talking to all the teachers, we decided this was what we wanted.”
Bliss said a group of individuals wanted to make an in-kind donation to the foundation, but also wanted to do something special for students. Along with the cupcakes and juice, they also provided clothes for some students who were in need.
“We have a lot of basic needs out there that just aren’t met,” Bliss said. “So [the school] came up with a list of the students who needed some help, and they provided coats, hats, socks and nice pieces of clothing that will keep them warm through the winter.”
Boutin said students like people coming in and supporting them one way or another, whether it’s clothing or snacks.
“I think it shows that the community cares about them,” Boutin said. “They know the school does a lot for them, but it makes them feel good to know the community supports them, too. You can see that they feel loved, they appreciate it.”
Bliss said he’s glad to see groups come out to help students directly and to participate in it. He said seeing their smiles left him beaming.
“There’s nothing like getting into our schools, seeing the faces and being up close and personal with our students,” Bliss said. “You see their smiling faces, jumping up and down and thanking you for bringing those in. It’ll bring the Christmas spirit in anybody, I’ll promise you that.”