Gonic student shops at the holiday store with the help of a staff member

Gonic Elementary School Kindergartener Corey Olsen gets some help from Paraprofessional McKenzie Clark while shopping for his family at a free family shopping spree held for students. (Courtesy Rochester School District)

ROCHESTER — Superintendent Kyle Repucci is pleased to share that students at the Gonic Elementary School were able to experience the joy of getting presents for others this holiday season via a shopping opportunity that was created right at the school.

On Thursday, Dec. 15, Gonic Students were able to participate in the Holiday Shopping Spree, an opportunity created by students' and staff members' donations. The tradition has been ongoing at the Gonic School since 1991.

Students and staff donated gifts that were available during the shopping spree, which were then laid out on tables in the school's cafeteria so that students could "shop" for items to give their families as gifts.

Thanks to the generosity of students and staff, each student was able to choose four gifts.

The items were available at no cost to students, but students paid the opportunity forward by making financial donations that will be split between food pantries at Spaulding High School and Bud Carlsen Academy in Rochester. 

Even though the gifts are free to students, the shopping spree still gets them thinking about shopping and saving money, which helps teach the students about the value of money and planning ahead for shopping.

Students from Bud Carlsen Academy and students from the National Honor Society at Spaulding High School volunteered time to help elementary students wrap their presents.  "The students truly get excited to shop for others. When you talk to the kids they light up about each gift that they have picked out and love to tell you why that gift is perfect for the person for whom they purchased," said Principal Greg Brown. "Some of the older students are very proud that their donations are going to a place in their own community that helps others. For the students, staff and volunteers, it truly is an experience that you do not forget as it brings so many smiles to the school."

Gonic Elementary Kindergartener Sophia Gelinas smiles as she has presents for her family wrapped by staff members during the shopping spree. (Courtesy Rochester School District)

Gonic School Kindergartener Cohen Strydom stands with his mom, Parent Teacher Association Volunteer Stephanie Strydom during the shopping spree. (Courtesy Rochester School District)