CFISD Schools Help One Another During Holiday Season

December 18, 2015


Representatives from Swenke and Lieder elementary schools display the gifts donated by Swenke families that will help 41 Lieder families in need have a happy holiday season. Pictured (bottom row, L-R) are Charlie Ramirez, Lieder counselor; Tuli Iguarta, Lieder counselors’ secretary; Alison Rash, Lieder counselor; and Lyla Payne, Lieder counselor; and (top row) Petra Skopal, Swenke counselor; Kristine Ashmead, Lieder assistant principal; Liz Miller, Swenke principal; Dr. Karen Stockton, Lieder principal; Colleen Keiser, Swenke counselor; Sarah Millerhouse, Swenke language arts instructional specialist; Susan Huntsman, Swenke math instructional specialist; and Kim Birkelbach, Lieder assistant principal.

Dec. 17, 2015—Students throughout CFISD experienced the power of giving and the joy of receiving as schools partnered with one another to make the holiday season brighter for less fortunate families in the community.

The “schools helping schools” initiative set stage for the third consecutive year at Swenke and Lieder elementary schools, as Swenke families donated enough gifts to support 41 families and 90 students at Lieder.


Swenke PTO president Ryan Ahrens, left, passes a bicycle to Lieder counselor Alison Rash at Lieder on Dec. 16. Swenke’s donations to Lieder students included 18 bicycles for holiday gifts.

Swenke staff members delivered the items, which included 18 bicycles, to the school on Dec. 16 and they were distributed to families throughout the remainder of the week.

“It helps our students understand that not everyone is in the same boat as they are,” said Liz Miller, Swenke principal. “The counselors did a fabulous job of organizing the donation efforts. It makes Christmas extra special for the kids.”

Dr. Karen Stockton, Lieder principal, said this year’s donation recipients included many families that were displaced due to the Loch Katrine apartment fire in October.


Lieder Elementary School Principal Dr. Karen Stockton, right, hugs Swenke Elementary School Principal Liz Miller after Swenke staff delivered holiday gifts for 41 Lieder families on Dec. 16. 

“The families are so thankful. They don’t know what to say,” Dr. Stockton said. “They come up to the school to pick up the gifts, and there are always tears.”

A. Robison Elementary School streamlined its 2015 holiday giving efforts by sponsoring children in need at four other schools through local nonprofit Cy-Hope. Each homeroom class was paired with one student, and A. Robison students donated enough funds to provide gifts for 32 students at M. Robinson, five students at Kirk, six students at Metcalf and five students at McFee elementary schools.


A. Robison Elementary School provided gifts to four other schools through Cy-Hope, including sponsoring five students at Kirk Elementary School. Pictured (L-R) are Kelli Blankenburg, A. Robison instructional specialist; Sofia Villarreal, Kirk counselor paraeducator; Jane Balsam, A. Robison instructional specialist; and Onica Mayers, Kirk principal.

A. Robison staff loaded up all the gifts into five vehicles to deliver to the schools this week.

“It was amazing how much they gave,” Robison Principal Kelly Gerletti said. “One little girl brought $40 and said ‘This is my birthday money.’ We asked her if she was sure she wanted to give away her birthday money but she said, ‘This is what I want to do with it.’ It was neat because it was giving to other Cy-Fair students. They really felt like they knew these kids.”

M. Robinson Principal Irene Ruiz said it warmed heart to see the multitude of bags filled with gifts being delivered to her campus.


A. Robison students provided holiday gifts for 32 students at M. Robinson Elementary School. Pictured (L-R) are Sally Hall, A. Robison secretary; Kelly Gerletti, A. Robison principal; Irene Ruiz, M. Robinson principal; Courtney Nespeca, A. Robison assistant principal; and Jenny Daniell, A. Robison librarian.

“It’s amazing to see the kindness coming from students to other students within the district. It shows the support kids have for one another,” she said. “Whenever our counselor called one of the parents to let her know, she said she broke down crying, saying this was the only Christmas her kids were going to have. I don’t know if they realize the impact they are making for our kids.”

At Black Elementary School, the PTO hosted a free family holiday event on Dec. 4 where families were invited to donate gifts to be shared with children at Horne Elementary School.

Black Elementary collected 176 gifts in one night and coordinated with CFISD’s community engagement office to deliver them to Horne last week.


Horne Elementary School shows its appreciation for Black Elementary School after Black Elementary families donated 176 gifts to Horne families in need. Pictured (L-R) are Melissa LeDoux, Black principal; Stephanie Thomas, Horne principal; Tori Dahl, Black PTO president; and Jennifer Niesner, Horne counselor.

“Throughout this week we have been able to provide additional Christmas assistance to families in need with a variety of toys for students of all ages,” said Stephanie Thomas, Horne principal. “We are very blessed to work in a district where schools work so closely as a team to meet the needs of all our students!”

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