Vikings Give Fundraiser brings Christmas early to elementary school

Saturday , December 23, 2017 - 5:00 AM

SARAH WELLIVER, Standard-Examiner Staff

Christmas came early to Doxey Elementary as hundreds of Vikings swarmed the halls Wednesday, Dec. 20, carrying bags of presents. More than 320 student volunteers from Viewmont High School participated in the annual Vikings Give Fundraiser, raising more than $80,000.

“We had a kick-off assembly in mid-November, and then we started collecting right after that,” said Viewmont Student Body Advisor April Fenn. In order to participate, each Viewmont Viking was required to raise $75 of their own money and participate in four of seven collection nights going door to door for donations. Then came the shopping and the wrapping.

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Scissors, empty wrapping paper tubes and rolls of Scotch Tape covered the floors Wednesday afternoon in the Bountiful school’s new library. Large plush toys sat next to students as they quickly worked to organize their freshly wrapped gifts into large black trash bags.

Fenn, who also teaches AP Spanish at the school, knows they ask a lot of their volunteers. It’s that dedication that makes the pay off so much better.

Each teenager was paired with one or more of the 382 Doxey students, buying $75 in toys and clothing catered specifically for each child.

“They send us forms for parents and students to fill out … a wishlist of things and shirt and pant sizes,” Doxey Principal Midori Clough said.

With 70 percent of the elementary school students qualifying for free and reduced lunches, the event was more than just a nice thought. “A lot of our families are impacted greatly. … It was just very heartwarming to be selected,” Clough said.

While Vikings Give has been operating for more than 20 years, this is only the second year it has focused on children in need within Davis School District. Prior to that, they had focused on schools in Salt Lake area. “We found there’s a lot of need here,” Fenn said.

Thursday morning, Doxey students peered out from their classrooms with barely held excitement as Viewpoint High Vikings walked the hallways in search of their child’s room number.

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Teachers directed each student to their Vikings Give buddy and let the pair get to know one another.

Electronic cars sped down hallways, both teenagers and kindergarteners laughing as they ran after them. The center of one classroom temporarily turned into a racetrack. Viewmont High’s Sydnee Moulton, 15, stretched out on her stomach next to Rayine Flores, 7, as they played with Disney “Beauty and the Beast” dolls.

Kendall Carr, 16, helped newly equipped Spiderman Haylon Martin, 4, adjust the web-slinger on his wrist. “Seeing their faces and how happy it makes them, it just makes my day,” Carr said.

Third grade teacher Kailee Pena couldn’t hold back her tears as she watched her students open their presents.

“It’s incredible. Not just the gifts but the interaction,” Pena said, “That these high schoolers took the time to do this, to raise money and get to know these students and sit with them…it’s just incredible.”

In total the Vikings Give Fundraiser spent $34,000 on books, toys, clothing and more for students at Doxey. The remaining donations will go to the Davis Education Foundation fund for homeless children, with the exception of $2,000 that is going to the Bountiful Food Pantry, Fenn said.

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