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‘Holiday wishes’ campaign at middle school aims to give special gift to every student

KENT, Wash. — A program at a local middle school aims to give every student a gift.

But not just any gift.  A special gift of the student’s choosing. Anything they wish.

“The range of things that middle school kids wish for would blow your mind,” said Kacie Solar, activities coordinator at Mill Creek Middle School. “I mean from anything to kids wanting a liter of Mountain Dew and a bag of hot Cheetos, to a little more sentimental. We have kids whose families have been split apart for various reasons and their wishes are to have their families back together.”

Of course, Solar, staff and leadership kids at Mill Creek can’t always honor big wishes like bringing families back together, or expensive ones like trips to Hawaii.

But they still try. Instead of trips, they buy postcards from the place. Instead of family gatherings, they write nice notes. Instead of each student getting the latest Xbox, they are entered into a raffle for the gaming system.

And for everyone that submits a wish, they get a wish card and some candy canes. So at the very least, they know they’re appreciated.

Solar said the idea for the program called “Holiday Wishes” started four years ago with her leadership students. Then, they fulfilled nearly 200 wishes. Now, as many as 600 students put their name in for a holiday wish.

The program has been so popular, Solar said, the school has started a Go Fund Me page to get the community involved.

She said the response has been great both from the school and students.

“Ultimately what I would love is for every single student to get their wish,” Solar said. “It’s so important for them to not stop wishing for things.”

Among the most bizarre things students have wished for is a gallon of glue or a snake. Sometimes, teachers have to get creative, like giving a fake snake to the student who asked for a real one.

Students will get their gifts on Dec. 15, they day before winter break starts. She says the day is filled with joy, as kids all across the school open their wish. For some kids with a tough home life, the day can be a lifesaver to get a wish fulfilled in a public setting.

“It really can be amazing,” Solar said.