In keeping with the giving spirit of the holiday season, Harker students from all three campuses participated in service projects to spread cheer to the surrounding communities.
The lower school toy drive collected more than 700 toys, which were delivered to the children of less fortunate families, so that they could also partake in the joy of the holiday season. Beryl Banks, community involvement coordinator at Sacred Heart Community Services, appeared at the lower school campus in December to thank the students for the donations they had made.
One lower school parent, Deepali Halepete, shared the story of how he and his daughter, Mahika, Gr. 2, helped raise $1,400 for underprivileged families by selling paintings that were created in Halepete’s art workshops. The money was used to purchase art supplies and a playhouse for the Georgia Travis Center, a shelter run by InnVision that assists single mothers and their children.
Meanwhile, middle school students were busy with their own holiday community service project, a coat drive that ran from Dec. 7 through Dec. 18. The students gathered more than 300 coats, which were donated to the InnVision organization to ensure that financially troubled or homeless people in San Jose could fend off the cold of winter.
A Christmas tree donation drive was also organized at the middle school. Teachers donated trees by leaving them outside their classrooms with their decorations removed. Middle school math teacher Peggy Crisler estimated that “20 to 25” trees were donated in total.
Middle school math teacher Scott Graham’s Gr. 8 advisory decorated wreaths that were later donated to the Saratoga Retirement Home. It was the third consecutive year that the students decorated and donated the wreaths.
Several upper school students helped out with holiday celebrations in downtown San Jose in late November and early December. Over Thanksgiving weekend, a group of students lent their helping hands to the setting up of Christmas in the Park, which ran until December 27 at Plaza de Cesar Chavez in downtown San Jose. Students hung decorations and helped prepare the various displays and buildings that have been a part of the popular holiday attraction for 30 years.
On Dec. 6, Harker upper school students once again took part in a community effort at the downtown San Jose Holiday Parade. Assisted by students from Gunderson High School, they hoisted and carried the giant Hello Kitty parade float down San Jose’s historic Santa Clara and Market Streets.
December also saw the Key Club organize their annual Scott Lane donation drive, in which much-needed school supplies were donated to Scott Lane Elementary School to improve the quality of the students’ education. As a token of their gratitude, Scott Lane prepared a special “thank you” video that was shown at the upper school assembly on Jan. 4.
As New Year’s approached, Harker siblings Albert Wu, Gr. 10 and Helen Wu, Gr. 7, held a special performance at the Saratoga Retirement Community on Dec. 30. The duo, Albert on piano and Helen on violin, played pieces from such composers as Bach, Beethoven and Chopin.