D211 Post: Palatine Students Donate to Township’s Angel Tree Program

Student Council students and staff collect presents which will be donated to Palatine Township’s Angel Tree program. (Photo by Emma Langer, yearbook student staff)

For more than 11 years, students at Palatine High School have donated gifts as part of Palatine Township’s Angel Tree Program.  This year the students donated more than 350 gifts to 100 recipients, which were delivered to Palatine Township Nov. 30.

            Jim Nowak, a math teacher and student council advisor at PHS called this a great success. 

            “Knowing this is going to those in need in our community is a great feeling,” Nowak said.

            Each year Palatine Township hosts an Angel Tree.  The tree is filled with names of children and seniors in need throughout the community.  Among the details with each name is the individuals three wishes.

            Lori Lindberg, Palatine Township’s Community Outreach Coordinator, said the students from Palatine were very generous.

            “It seems to me, they filled the wishes and then some,” Lindberg said.

Students and staff from Palatine High School load presents into a school bus to be donated to the Palatine Township Angel Tree program. (Photo by Emma Langer, PHS yearbook student staff)

            Katie Lindert, Student Council President and a senior at PHS, said clubs and organizations throughout the school each took one of the 100 names, then worked to fill the wishes with that individual.  Once all the gifts were turned in to the student council, students loaded them on a school bus for delivery to the Palatine Township office.

            “Seeing their reaction when we pulled up was an unforgettable experience,” Lindert said.

            Lindberg said people were in awe when they saw the donation from the school.

Students pose with a school bus full of presents donated to Palatine Township’s Angel Tree program (Photo by Emma Langer PHS yearbook student staff)

          “It’s always a joy to see the bus pull up,” Lindberg said.  “We love when they drop off the gifts.” 

          Nowak, who has advised the student council for more than a decade, said the Angel Tree program is one of the top events for the organization each year.

            “We really hope to see it grow,” he said.  “This year we had 100 names.  Maybe next year we could take 150.”

Fremd High School NHS Students Grant Wishes for Chicago, Local Charities

For this holiday season, National Honor Society students at Fremd High School participated in the largest service event of the school year.

Each year, roughly 240 NHS students grant wishes for Angel Tree and Grant a Wish. The students receive a certain amount of wishes from the organizations, and they volunteer their time and efforts to help make a child’s holiday season a bit brighter. This year’s collection took place on Dec. 12.

“NHS is all about the service they can do no matter how small or how big,” said Jane Richards, business education teacher at Fremd High School and NHS sponsor. “This happens to be the largest service event we do all year, and it not only serves Palatine but goes outside of our community. Everyone loves going out and buying gifts, and it gets them into whatever holiday spirit and celebrating.”

Senior NHS students handled the Chicago-based Grant a Wish Foundation, while juniors took care of Angel Tree, a Palatine-based organization that provides holiday gifts to children below poverty level. Each member was responsible for granting the wishes of one child, although some students take multiple children.

Students received cards from the organization that stated the child’s name, age, and what they wished for. This included a wide-range of items, such as books, dolls, trucks, or clothing. Additionally, each Grant a Wish gift includes a hat, mittens, and socks. The typical gift amount is $50. After students purchased their gifts, they wrapped them and a group delivered them to both organizations.

PODS (Portable On-Demand Storage) donated units for a safe place to store gifts at the high school. PODS then picked up the units with a truck, and 40 senior students traveled to Chicago to deliver gifts to the Grant a Wish headquarters. Afterward, they visited a daycare center that they bought gifts for. There, they read and sang songs with children as young as six months old through eighth grade.

“NHS is all about the service they can do no matter how small or how big,” Richards said. “This happens to be the largest service event we do all year, and it not only serves Palatine, but goes outside of our community. Everyone loves going out and buying gifts, and it gets them into the holiday spirit and celebrating.”

NHS’ involvement with Grant a Wish has been going on for more than 20 years. Originally, a student at FHS first organized the school’s involvement with the late Lorraine Anne Blair, founder of Grant a Wish. Since then, the event has grown. Angel Tree was added because of NHS’ growing membership six years ago. Richards said she wanted to make sure each of the students could be involved and do something within the community.  The best part, she said, is seeing how her students are moved by this event.

“I love seeing that our NHS members love giving,” Richards said. “They know that these children need this. These are poverty-level children, and this may be the biggest gift they receive. Sometimes when I hand out the wish cards, our students say, ‘wow, all this child wants is a coat,’ and a four-year-old isn’t wishing for a toy. Students get perspective, and it’s great for them to help people out.”