Christmas always comes early at Polk County Public Schools! Every year, employees from PCPS’ Information Systems and Technology (IST) division organize Kiddie Christmas, a decades-old tradition that benefits children in need. This morning, we gathered at Bethune Academy to deliver gifts to a happy bunch of Head Start students. Each child received a toy from their wish list, as well as clothing items, a board game and groceries for a holiday meal to enjoy with their family. Santa Claus made a special appearance and spent time with the students as they opened their presents. Our IST staff hold fundraisers throughout the year to provide gifts for Kiddie Christmas; this year, they raised more than $4,300 from PCPS employees. Staff from our Support Services department fill stockings for the children. Corporate sponsors also contribute to the event — a special thanks to Boswell and Dunlap, Ernie Morris Enterprises, Publix and Ready Communications. Thursday’s celebration at Bethune Academy was a welcome return to normalcy. Last year, Kiddie Christmas was held in a drive-through format due to COVID-19. “This year has just been amazing to see the children’s faces, and be able to help their families and know that they’re going to have a good holiday,” said Dr. Tina Barrios, PCPS’ assistant superintendent of the IST division. Bethune Academy Principal Robin Hewitt said the event brought a lot of joy to the school’s Head Start families. “Today was truly a day of celebrating students, and the holiday spirit of giving,” she said.
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