K-12 Education

Making 'Winter Wishes' come true

HS journalism: North Cedar student was on receiving end after years of giving

North Cedar teacher Peter Forneia fulfilled a winter wish for Matthew King by singing happy birthday to him. (Saleena Jones/North Cedar senior)
North Cedar teacher Peter Forneia fulfilled a winter wish for Matthew King by singing happy birthday to him. (Saleena Jones/North Cedar senior)
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CLARENCE — The holidays can be a bleak time for many people.

It’s often difficult for many families to find the money to get presents for their children, or brave the winter chill without basic winter gear. There are a number of reasons people may be lacking joy during the holiday season.

Fortunately, there is one special organization seeking to brighten the day of many people. North Cedar’s National Honor Society is continuing a special tradition of Winter Wishes.

Teachers, students and community members all have the opportunity to wish something for another. It can be as large as clothing for a whole family or as small as a candy bar with a “Happy Birthday” greeting for a fellow classmate. The wish itself is only half the joy received by the recipient. The other half is the feeling of knowing someone just thought of you.

I have been on both the giving and receiving end a Winter Wish.

As a NHS member, I have had the delight of giving Winter Wishes. One of my favorite parts of the Christmas season is picking the wish I want to help grant and going shopping. As much as I love receiving gifts, I find giving a gift is much more exciting and fulfilling. I love the feeling of knowing this gift will brighten someone’s day. Beyond that, is the act of giving the gift. I enjoy seeing people’s surprise and delight when they get their Winter Wish.

This year, I got to experience this delight first hand.

It was a regular Tuesday at North Cedar. I had been sick all weekend, and kind of feeling down. The stress of all the stuff I had to finish for Christmas and school before break was piling on. Then, I got a call to go down to Patti Lehrman’s room (one of our fantastic NHS sponsors). I figured she needed help with wrapping some Winter Wishes. When I entered her classroom, I am greeted with Lehrman and a big basket filled with soap, lotion, a coffee mug and many more cute things. At first, I thought she needed me to deliver it to someone else. But in fact, this basket was for me.

My whole day was flipped upside down or maybe I should say right side up. Some lovely person wanted me to receive a basket of my favorite things (including Nutella) and take some time to relax this break. I was almost moved to tears at this act of kindness. I had always been the giver of Winter Wishes, but I finally was on the receiving end.

Seeing how this brightened my day, it made me want to give even more Winter Wishes, so more people get to experience the joy.

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Winter Wishes is a vital part of bringing alive the Christmas spirit in the North Cedar district and this year NHS was able to grant all 50 wishes that were submitted. This tradition could not happen without our fundraisers, like the jean card for teachers and the generous donation from individuals and the Zion UCC Senior High Fellowship.

I hope NHS continues to keep up this tradition for many years to come. It will definitely be a part of high school that I will deeply cherish being a part of. If you see a NHS member, Lehrman or Heather Davidson, thank them for their hard work in making Winter Wishes possible.

(Video by sophomore Fiona Raney/edited by senior Chelsea Lovell)

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