Holiday magic at Lucy Laney: 'I just wanted to make sure they had something special'

A Lucy Craft Laney Elementary teacher raised more than $750 to bring that joy to each student, aware of the reality many of her students face.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – A Lucy Craft Laney Elementary teacher in North Minneapolis has long planned holiday parties for her class, but this year, launched a fundraising campaign to bring the magic of Christmas to the entire fifth grade.

Ms. Crissha Walton often buys gifts for her students from her own pocket, but this year, also launched a GoFundMe page to buy a gift and stocking for all 70 students in the fifth grade.

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“Because I love them, and I want to make sure they have something special,” said Walton.

She raised more than $750 to bring that joy to each student, aware of the reality many of her students face.

“With the holidays fast approaching, most kids are getting excited for winter break. But for students whose families are struggling in poverty, time away from school isn't an exciting time filled with presents, trips and fun. For them, it can be a crippling time of insecurity when it comes to food and shelter,” the fundraising page stated.

For her holiday celebration, the Smoke in the Pit restaurant in Minneapolis donated food, while each student received a stocking and gift, screaming with joy at the sight of the presents, handed out by a fellow teacher, Mr. Hollie, dressed as Santa.

The gesture made all the difference to student Shantea Windom, who wasn't sure if there would be Christmas presents at her home this year.

“It means so much me my teachers have this idea. I just wanted so say thank you to them, they inspire me and are good role models,” said Windom.

To Walton, the magic of being a teacher is believing, in each day, and in the season her kids need it most.

“I want to make a difference in kids' lives, I want them to see a teacher that looks like them, and say hey, you can be anything you set your mind to be. Don't let anybody steal your shine,” said Walton.

Santas don't always come down chimneys, sometimes, they stand before us, and among us and believe.

“All our kids, some might need a little more help than others, but they all have the potential to be great,” said Walton. “One of my dreams, one year, is to take 10 kids to Disney, I don't know how I am going to do it, but it's going to happen.”

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