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Santa gets cheerful reception at Wolfe School

Santa Claus, provided courtesy of Richard “Chief” Alvarez, talks with Meagan Alexander, seated, and Carey Grier, standing, about Meagan’s gift from the UCPS Maintenance Department given during the 12th annual Christmas party held for Wolfe School.

The Union County Public Schools Maintenance Department continues a holiday tradition it began 12 years ago – bringing joy to about 70 special needs children at Wolfe School.
   
“You can just look at these children’s faces and see why we do this every year,” said Phil Kiser, HVAC technician with the UCPS Maintenance Department. “It gives us a feeling of satisfaction to know we’re doing something to help someone who is not as fortunate as we are.”
             
The tradition, started in 1996 by the late Tommy Laney, a technical supervisor with the UCPS Maintenance Department, celebrates the children at Wolfe School and the staff who teach them. More than 100 UCPS maintenance staff were on hand as Santa’s sleigh (filled to overflowing with wrapped presents) pulled into the gym at the Wolfe School Thursday, December 18, 2008.
   
Students shouted with glee and applauded the arrival of Santa Claus, provided courtesy of Richard “Chief” Alvarez, who entered the room with a jolly “Ho Ho Ho.”
   
This year’s party was bittersweet for the Maintenance Department, however, in light of the death of its director earlier this month, Ed Sweeney, who had been with the school system since 1993. “It’s different with Mr. Sweeney not being here this year,” Kiser said. “We miss him. He always got a kick out of this, bringing Santa to these students.”
   
Teachers and staff at Wolfe School gave suggestions to the party organizers in the Maintenance Department to help in the selection of each student’s gift. “They work every year to raise money for this event, money out of their own pockets and money they raise,” said Wolfe School Principal Stephanie McManus.
   
The men and women of the UCPS Maintenance Department fund the event each year through an annual golf tournament held in the summer and through individual donations.
   
“They do this solely out of the goodness in their hearts,” McManus said. “I don’t think words could ever describe the appreciation our students have, and the appreciation I have for the Maintenance Department staff and the spirit with which they give. They’re thoughtful individuals every day of the year, but especially during the holidays.”
 

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, Publications Coordinator
Posted: Dec 19, 2008 by Deb Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator

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