Ocean Shores Elementary has several holiday activities taking place before winter break, which runs Dec. 19 through Jan. 2.
Located at 300 Mt. Olympus Ave., the school will host its annual Winter Program Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m., with holiday songs and what principal Rhonda Ham calls “an exciting conclusion that no one will want to miss.”
After the program, students in need of some winter warming can choose from dozens of new coats donated by St. Jerome Parish Knights of Columbus. The local group has also given coats to Pacific Beach Elementary students and is currently running a canned food drive competition among classes at OSE.
This is the fourth year the local Knights of Columbus chapter has done both coats and can. The latter started Nov. 28 and runs through Dec. 13. The winning classroom will receive a pizza party, and the second-place class will get an ice cream social. Last year, the contest brought in about 1,200 cans of food for the Ocean Shores Food Bank.
Also, Ham said, the school’s “Cougar Paw” store and auction are rapidly approaching for OSE scholars. The school’s nickname is Cougars, and Ham explained the program recognizes good behavior: “Every day we give out ‘Cougar Paws’ for kids who are caught being good,” she chuckled.
The store is stocked with items donated by and the community, and includes things for kids and things that can be used as gifts for their family members. The students use their earned Cougar Paws to purchase merchandise from the store, and for some bigger items that are auctioned. Items available range from simple school supplies like pencils to “larger items that we feel would be extremely attractive to our third thru sixth graders, like skateboards, movie passes, bicycles…” Big items are offered in the store or at auction twice a year, just before winter break and the end of the school year.
Addressing the community, Ham said, “If you have any slightly used items that you might be considering for a garage sale or to turn into a donation store, please consider donating them to OSE. If you need someone to come pick them up, give call the school” at (360) 289-2147.
“One of the best comments I ever heard from one of our scholars,” she continued, “was the day I asked the student how he enjoyed the store and he responded, ‘I was able to purchase something for everyone in my family for Christmas.’
In addition to everything else, late last month “Santa Joe” Cornell from Central Park brought 120 soccer balls, other toys and clothes to the OSE kids.
For 36 years, Cornell has been running an ongoing effort, drumming up donations, hunting for bargains, sweet-talking store managers and repurposing his sedan into Santa’s sleigh as he brings toys, warm winter clothes and even some school supplies to children at more than 20 schools throughout Grays Harbor County. His donations of tennis shoes equipped the students for PE.