Tacoma high school grants winter wishes




Posted on December 16, 2009 at 8:58 AM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 16 at 8:58 AM

TACOMA, Wash. - The holidays can be stressful, and kids are no exception.  In fact, some school administrators noticed fights and suspensions jump in the weeks leading up to Christmas. So students, staff and parents at Tacoma's Washington High School are spreading cheer through a program called "Winter Wishes." 

With the help of student organizers and donations from teachers and parents, more than 200 wishes are granted throughout this week.  Wishes students ask for include everything from a bag of candy to a bike. 

Elishama Weems, a sophomore, wished for, and got, a warm coat.

"I wished for it because I don't really have thick coats," said Weems. 

To him, the gift means much more than staying warm.

"Washington High School is very caring," he said.

Alex Putnam is one of the students helping to give the wishes rather than getting one. 

"We actually handed out two Barbies yesterday and they were the most excited girls," he said.

Winter Wishes Week kicks off with a student blood drive, which serves as a reminder about the importance of giving.

The timing coincides with what can be a tough stretch for students any year, and especially this one.  Washington High is right around the corner from the coffee shop where four Lakewood Police Officers were killed late last month.  Officer Ronald Owens was a graduate of Washington High.

"When we found out Ronnie Owens was a Washington High School graduate, I think that just added to it," said teacher and Winter Wishes Organizer, Heath Booth. "It became a lot more personal for a lot of people.  I think this has been a way to get a lot of the students and the staff to begin the healing process." 

As students ran up to accept their gifts, we saw smiles spreading. Students, like Michelle Collison, who help grant wishes, say they're feeling pretty good too.

"My fulfillment level is at 100-percent right now," said Collison.

Winter Wishes Week culminates with a school assembly on Friday where the biggest wishes are granted.