by Alyssa Pena | staff writer
The Christmas season is one of the most hectic times of the year for both parents and their children. There is little to no time to go shopping for gifts, decorate the house, and most importantly, there is no time to go see Santa Claus. As a solution to this issue, Student Council is hosting their first annual Winter Wonderland.
“One of the main things we hear that people do not enjoy from Christmas time is waiting in line at the mall with the kids for two hours to get a picture with Santa,” Student Council Sponsor Jennifer Jones said. “So we thought we would offer an opportunity for the community to come to the cafeteria, for a reasonable price, to meet Santa.”
Winter Wonderland offers an exciting experience for kids as young as two months old to come and play activities while they wait to have their picture with Santa. However, high school students are more than welcome to participate as well.
“If there is a high school kid who just loves Santa, and they want to go ahead and sit on his lap and take a picture, what a cool gift to give to your mom and dad. They wouldn’t have to know about it, and you’re supporting two charities,” Jones said.
This event that takes place on Saturday, December 12, in the Johnson cafeteria not only presents a place for parents to bring their kids to run around and win prizes while they wait to meet Santa, but it goes toward a a very charitable deed: all the proceeds from Winter Wonderland will go toward a local women’s shelter for battered women.
“It’s also going toward suicide prevention, and so we definitely want to support different groups on campus,” Jones said. “One of the groups, FBLA, said ‘hey would you mind helping us and supporting us,’ and we said absolutely.”
Although this is the first time that Johnson high has seen an event like this, Jones hope for this event to take off and continue on in years to come.
“We’re hoping that since this is the first year, that it will kind of set the standard, and if we can continue to make this a good event that the community enjoys and we want to expand it, we can make it longer and have elementary school performances, vendors to sell goods and really make this a big event for the Johnson community.”
Jones and student council have been working diligently to make sure that Winter Wonderland is a success so that guests will have a chance to interact with Santa and the various other Johnson clubs that will also be participating.
“We don’t want to just be the group on campus that is just doing stuff with just student council,” Jones said. “We have the anime club, NHS, Key club, PALs and so many other groups. We have incorporated this concept of it takes a village, and I think that we are really blessed here at Johnson High School, and so let’s do something that gives back.”
While StuCo has also gained huge success with their Toys for Tots campaign in November, they aspire to have Winter Wonderland take off for kids of all ages all across the city. With registration still open online to take a picture with Santa, Jones emphasizes that no one will be turned away from seeing Father Christmas.
“When jaguars unite, we can do amazing things,” Jones said. “I think that’s why the Toys for Tots shirt helped make the ordinary extraordinary. And that’s the goal of this event; to take something that parents don’t look forward to and it’s something that they ‘have to do’, and make it into this fantastic event that they look forward to.”