Members of the DECA group at Bowsher High School changed things up this year, postponing their annual canned good drive until January so they could bring a little cheer to younger students this holiday season.

The high school students instead kept busy collecting stocking stuffers and school supplies for the students at Walbridge Elementary and delivered those boxes on Thursday, December 18. Cheryl Bourland and Christina Reisinger, the organizers of the effort, were overwhelmed by the response at the high school to the project they dubbed Operation Christmas Box.

In a note to Bowsher staff and students, they wrote, "Thanks to the tremendous support from all of you, we met our goal and far exceeded it! We cannot thank you enough for your incredible support! We are so touched by those of you who went above and beyond to assist with the project. This has been a valuable community service and learning experience project, not possible without your help."

The DECA students surpassed their goal of providing every student with a fully-wrapped box of school supplies, personal items, toys and more so the also presented a gift card to school officials for the purchase of additional school supply items.

As tradition dictates, there was a competition among first-hour classes – the class that sponsored the most gift boxes on a per student basis will receive a movie day and breakfast (provided by DECA) on Friday, December 19th. The winners are the students in Mary McGurk’s class – they came through with 50 beautiful gift bags, jam-packed and beautifully wrapped, for most of the 7th and 8th graders.

The two teachers said they knew the school would be happy to see an underdog win but that they had to mention, "Mr. [Keith] Hershey and his classes were not outshined. Their support and his compassion were truly incredible."

Updated on December 18, 2014