Siblings Ethan and Azariah Lara show each other the gifts they received courtesy of Roswell High Key Club members at CYFD, Saturday morning. Mark Wilson Photo
Seven Roswell High School students made 233 children very happy this holiday season, surprising all of them with Christmas gifts Saturday.
The students are members of the high school student organization Key Club and had worked to raise more than $800 for a trip to a Key Club convention in El Paso. The students, four sophomores and three freshman, did everything from yard work and bake sales to get there. But a few weeks ago, when the students got word of all the children in Roswell whose families had fallen on hard times, the students decided their money would be better spent on Christmas presents.
On a busy Saturday, Dulce Santoyo, Sarahi Romero, Nancy Valadez, Natalie Vargas, Camillo Madrid, Junior Pina and Alejandro Urango handed out 115 toys, 85 gift cards and 33 Angel Tree gifts to children throughout the community.
The students started at the Children, Youth & Families Department, where 80 or so CASA children unwrapped toy cars, stuffed animals, basketballs and more. The students next went to the Assurance Home and handed out 15 Hastings gift cards, then to The Salvation Army with 33 Angel Tree gifts, and later to homes throughout the community to deliver the rest of the presents. The gifts included 15 more Hastings gift cards, 50 McDonald’s gift cards and five Icon Cinema combo gift certificates.
Anna Santoyo, a volunteer for Key Club and Dulce’s mother, said the students have shown tremendous compassion this year, having already raised about $400 for a Down syndrome fund earlier this year.
“There are no words to explain,” Santoyo said. “These kids, they’re not getting credit from anybody. I thought for seven students to gather up and do this out of their own heart, there’s just no words to it.
“That’s what Key Club is. Key Club is about giving; Key Club is about working with our community, making a difference.”
Six of the seven students are first-year Key Club members. Santoyo said the community can expect all seven of these students to make a big difference in the years to come.
“So if these are their first years (of service), what can we expect in four more years plus college, in service?” Santoyo said. “I just think it’s wonderful. I love it.”
In addition to Hastings, McDonald’s and Icon Cinema, the students received help from Walgreens and Farmers Country Market on Hobbs Street.
So what’s next for these seven Roswell High School students? Santoyo said that’s up to the community. “We’re just going to continue working and see what else we can do. If anybody has project hours, they can count on us. Call us up, and we’ll be more than glad to schedule them in and try to make a big difference.”