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Christmas Cheer: Elementary students surprised by presents

December 20, 2018

A conversation International Christian Center Outreach Coordinator Jose Nieto had with his sister, an elementary school teacher, turned from words to actions inspired by a giving spirit.

Nieto’s sister works at A.S. Putegnat Elementary School in downtown Brownsville. One day she remarked to her brother how some of her students suffered economic hardships.

So on behalf of the ICC congregation, Nieto contacted A.S. Putegnat Principal Aidee Vasquez and ICC offered to provide 509 gift wrapped presents to each and every student at the elementary school.

"We just wanted to be a blessing to our community," Nieto said. "We just looked at the needs of the city ... We decided to bless the community."

The blessing was a total surprise to the students at Putegnat Tuesday morning as their teachers led them into the cafeteria where they were greeted with high fives before watching part of "The Star," a 2017 animated movie about animals becoming the heros of the first Christmas, according to the movie website IMDb.com.

After that, the smiling kids each received one wrapped present during a gift-exchange event that would last approximately two hours so each of Putegnat Elementary’s 509 students would have a chance to grab their gift.

But before being led into the cafeteria, the students only knew they were in for a surprise.

"We have been telling them we have a surprise for them," Vasquez said.

For some children at the school, Vasquez said this could be the only or just one of a handful of presents they receive for Christmas.

"This gift for some may be only a gift or one of a few," Vasquez said.

And the kids definitely appreciate the holiday gesture.

"The kids were overjoyed. A lot of the kids were surprised and you can see their faces light up," Vasquez said.

This is the second year the school has done its gift exchange.

mreagan@brownsvilleherald.com

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