East Troy student club celebrates the spirit of Christmas with visit from Santa

By Donna Lenz Wright/The Week

(Published Dec. 14, 2006, 10:38 a.m.)

Members of the East Troy Middle School Builders Club hosted a breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus that went far beyond pictures with Santa.

In addition to breakfast and crafting activities last week Saturday, club students donated a portion of the proceeds to the Time is Now charity, which serves those in need in Walworth County.

The student club is sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Greater East Troy and held the event to promote civic support while raising funds for the club's future activities.

"We're very proud that the Builders Club students wanted a portion of the proceeds to be donated to The Time Is Now and an anonymous donor added $1,000 to the amount," said Francine Pease, Kiwanis advisor for the group. The Time Is Now is a private charity serving people suffering financial hardships in Walworth County.

About 425 people came for breakfast and fun and several other groups pitched in to make the event the success it was. The Student Council, Key Club and Art Club helped with crafts, Brothers and Sisters in Christ (BASIC) did face painting, Science Club had a Wheel of Fortune Christmas game, the Video Club did the Santa pictures, the Choir and Brass Ensemble provided holiday music and several Key Clubbers also helped in the kitchen.

"The Builders Club is for young people who want to take positive, constructive action to build a better world for themselves and for others," Pease said. "The club is open to any East Troy Middle Student who is interested in participating in service activities and is advised by faculty member, Mrs. Bonnie Kegley."

The club is in its third year and has 51 middle school student members ranging in abilities from honor roll, average, at-risk and special education.

"Students who would never otherwise be chosen as an officer have the opportunity to serve on an officer committee, which (Kegley) rotates every month," she said. "One of the special education teachers cried from happiness when she saw how one of her students was recognized in a leadership role."

Some of the past club activities include built and decorated birdhouses for area schools and daycare facilities; built and decorated wind chimes for area and state camps including the Salvation Army, Easter Seals Camp Wawbeek and Girl Scouts; assisted in fund-raising for a sick parent of a Builders Club member; held "trick or treated for UNICEF" raising money for AIDS; raised money for the Red Cross and hurricane relief; made and sent valentines for veterans and the elderly; collected and wrapped Christmas gifts for a local nursing home and played games with the residents; are collecting 'Toys for Tots; honored the teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week; decorated and hid eggs for the East Troy Family Resource Center; and adopted the Ronald McDonald House in Wauwatosa, made stuffed toys to give to the siblings of ill children, are making quilts and collecting aluminum can tabs.

The East Troy Middle School Builders Club has been so successful that Kegley, Pease and Dawn Willert, Kiwanis advisor, will present a program at the Wisconsin Association for Middle Level Education (WAMLE) on April 27, at the Olympia Resort in Oconomowoc.

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