Each Saturday, we give you a comprehensive roundup of the latest happenings at Omaha-area elementary, middle and high schools.
BELLEVUE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Giving tree: The Peter Sarpy Elementary Student Council sponsored a Giving Tree gift drive that donated to local shelters.
Tree project: Betz Elementary held a Giving Tree project that provided gifts to children in their neighborhood at Christmas.
BENNINGTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Food: Students at Pine Creek, Bennington and Heritage Elementary Schools collected food for needy families in Douglas and Washington Counties.
Girl Scouts: Students at Bennington Elementary collected needed items for the Nebraska Humane Society. The third-grade Girl Scout troop delivered the donations.
Gifts for families: Carroll Kuemper students and faculty purchased gifts for families in need throughout the Carroll, Iowa, area. All packages were wrapped and labeled for the families to pick up.
ELKHORN MOUNT MICHAEL
Heart Ministry: Elkhorn Mount Michael religion teacher Amy Masek recognized the needs of the Heart Ministry Center, whose mission is to provide food, clothing, health care and a way forward to people seriously affected by poverty in the Omaha area. Masek organized a small group of students to visit and volunteer at the center. Students spent about an hour performing various tasks at the center, such as organizing collected food. Students also purchased, wrapped, and loaded presents for their Christmas Advent Project. Mount Michael provided Christmas gifts for eight families through Mary Our Queen Catholic Church.
LINCOLN LUTHERAN SCHOOL
They were angels: The High School Student Council sponsored an Angel Tree.
MISSOURI VALLEY COMMUNITY SCHOOLS
Giving tree: A group of fifth-graders did a Giving Tree project to collect items for the Harrison County (Iowa) Food Pantry. Items brought in were displayed around the elementary school's tree.
OMAHA ARCHDIOCESE SCHOOLS
Boxed up: Fifth- and sixth-graders at St. Michael School in Albion, Neb., participated in Operation Christmas Child this year. This service project replaced the annual gift exchange among the students. Students donated enough items such as socks, pens and pencils, paper, watercolors, markers, bracelets, footballs, stuffed animals, toothpaste and toothbrushes to fill 10 boxes. The students prepared and wrapped the boxes, which were delivered to Westwood Church in Omaha. Operation Christmas Child partners with churches worldwide to help children in need. Also, all students at the school celebrated life and the gift of reading with a “Books for Babies” service project during Advent. Each St. Michael family donated a new infant board book. After labeling each book with a congratulatory note from the school, the books were delivered to the Boone County Health Center in Albion. The books will be given to each baby born there in 2014.
Helping a family: All Saints School in Omaha had a charitable fundraiser called Matilda's Angels. Matilda, a third-grader at All Saints, died in September from a brain tumor. The school chose to do a fundraiser for her family. The 160 students in prekindergarten through eighth-grade raised more than $600 for the family.
Diapers: St. Vincent de Paul School students collected diapers and baby items for a charitable group.
Something special: The sophomore class Christmas service project this year at Omaha Duchesne focused on the women at Bethlehem House. The girls decided to give each mother a gift bag with lotion, hot chocolate packs, a mug, candy, sweet items, two make-up items, lip gloss, lip balm, a hat and gloves, water pack, mini-notebook and personal items (such as a picture frame, headband, candle or jewelry). The gift bags were delivered to the Bethlehem House along with items from the Lay Associates of the Sacred Heart at Duchesne.
PAPILLION-LA VISTA PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Teams that care: Students on the Champions Team at Papillion Junior High collected money for holiday gifts and gift cards for a family going through a rough time during the holidays. The Centurions Team brought in new books for young readers. The students bundled the books and delivered them to students in the district whose families were going through difficult times. The Crusaders Team collected diapers and monetary donations to help purchase more diapers for Lydia House. Leo Club members and their classmates donated food to the Tri-City Food Pantry. The school's Mariners Team rang bells for the Salvation Army at the Hy-Vee Store in Papillion. The eighth-grade Olympians Team held a bake sale to raise money — $501 — to buy items on Project Harmony's wish list, including a small refrigerator.
Tree of gifts: La Vista Junior High students donated to the National Junior Honor Society's annual Toys for Tots campaign, collecting 650 toys. The Camelot Team at the school put up a giving tree in its hallway for an adopted family. Paper light bulbs that represented something the family needed decorated the tree. Students selected a bulb and purchased that gift for the family. Students of the school's NIKKE Club adopted three families in need this holiday season. The students held fundraisers throughout the first semester including co-hosting a dance with the National Honor Society. The proceeds from the fundraisers go to purchase items for the adopted families. Also, the Student Council asked their classmates to collect canned food items. The school collected 3,371 items that were donated to the Tri-City Food Pantry.
Food collection: Students at Bell Elementary collected about 2,500 canned food items for Tri-City Food Pantry. Student Council members rang bells for the Salvation Army at Shadow Lake Towne Center in Papillion.
Toy time: Walnut Creek Elementary Kiwanis Kids (K-Kids) Club members got their classmates to help them collect toys for Project Santa. Each grade level focused on specific items to donate. The toys were donated to the Open Door Mission. Members of the Walnut Creek Student Council made six tie blankets for the Nebraska Children's Home Society. The K-Kids also hosted a penny war to collect money to purchase books for Midlands Hospital in Papillion. The students collected more than $175. The books were chosen at the school book fair.
Pops plus: Hickory Hill Elementary Student Council students sold Blow Pops and had another fundraiser, bringing in $600 total. Half of the money was given to Children's Hospital & Medical Center to buy gift cards for families who are caring for a loved one in the hospital this holiday season. The other $300 was donated to the Tri-City Food Pantry. Students at the school also collected items to help animals at the Nebraska Humane Society. The sixth-grade students, who delivered the donations, do this activity instead of having a winter classroom party. Students brought more than 320 blankets, towels, leashes, dog treats and cat toys to school with them to donate to the Humane Society.
Going to the dogs: Rumsey Station Elementary students collected items for the Nebraska Humane Society. The event was sponsored by the Rumsey Station Student Council. Students also had a food drive for Tri-City Food Pantry.
PRIMROSE SCHOOL OF LEGACY
Feeding the hungry: Kids at the Primrose School of Legacy raised money by doing chores at home. They used the money to go grocery shopping for canned goods for Food Bank for the Heartland.
SPRINGFIELD PLATTEVIEW COMMUNITY SCHOOLS
Keeping warm: Platteview's Future Business Leaders of America collected gently used and new coats, mittens, hats, scarves and gloves for the needy.
WESTSIDE COMMUNITY SCHOOLS
Sweet treat: Each month, members of the Rockbrook Elementary Student Council host Tasty Tuesday to raise money for good causes. In December, the council members bundled up Dum Dums and sold them to raise money for a needy family for the holidays.
Gifts, food: Students in homerooms at Omaha Westside adopted elementary students to provide gifts for at the holidays. The school's Future Business Leaders of America Club had its annual canned food drive.
The World-Herald News Service contributed to this report.