From left to right: McNary leadership students Bekah Forrette, Mary Jespersen, Miranda Coleman, Kelsey Schauer, Brookelynn Jackson and Ben Wood go shopping for presents to buy for families in need (Submitted).
For more than three decades, the Adopt-a-Celt program at McNary High has served families in need during the holiday season, and the students on the leadership team have been working diligently to keep the tradition alive.
“It’s a wonderful program. It is cool to see the youth of Keizer carry on this tradition. I am immensely proud of them for taking on this big project and carrying on the legacy,” McNary activities director Lexxy Johnson said.
Each year, leadership students organize a gift and food drive for 20 to 25 families in need that have kids that attend McNary, relying on the counseling department to anonymously provide a list of households that could use meals, clothing and toys.
“It’s been a staple for over 30 years. It’s an awesome experience,” said Miranda Coleman, the senior community service director for the leadership team.
Leadership students partner with teachers and other McNary organizations, such as athletic teams and the honor society program, to be sponsors for the families.
“It’s a really unifying experience,” said Courtney Hanson, the director of public relations for the McNary leadership team.
Students have been fundraising for months, with their biggest money-maker coming from the McNary Holiday Bazaar last month. McNary art teacher Todd Layton had his graphic design students create crew-neck sweatshirts, with the caption “Merry Celtmas,” which were sold by the leadership students — the graphic design class also made a flyer for Adopt-a-Celt that allowed people to donate money by using a QR code.
By the end of last week, the McNary leadership raised over $1,000.
“There has been tons of fundraising. We were able to sell a lot of sweatshirts,” said junior community service director Bekah Forrette.
After shopping for materials over the weekend, students made gift bags and wrapped presents, which were delivered to the families earlier this week.
“It is extremely rewarding and it really brings back the holiday spirit. It’s a surreal feeling to be able back to help give people in the community a great Christmas,” Coleman said.
“It’s an emotional and heartwarming feeling to help families during the holiday season,” Forrette added.