Article by Sydney Tran, staff writer
Photos by Guy Ginsberg, co-editor-in-chief
Albion Street Elementary School, Beverly’s sister school in East Los Angeles, has welcomed Beverly students to their campus for 86 consecutive years. On this annual day, Beverly students bring gifts for the Albion Street students and partake in a day full of holiday fun and cheer.
Although the Albion Street students are the ones receiving the gifts, Beverly students find the experience is just as rewarding for them.
“This is my second year at Albion Street. I was here last year performing with Madrigals. It’s just a wonderful experience for us and the kids. It’s so nice to be able to make their day. This is one of their favorite days of the year, and it’s one of our favorite days of the year,” senior Isaac Spector said. “It really just warms your heart to see how happy they get when they open the presents and hear you sing carols. It’s really beautiful, and I’m really grateful that the schools offer this.”
This sense of gratitude is not limited to the students. Staff and faculty also see the value in the event, which is planned by Service Learning. Former Beverly student and Service Learning advisor, and current House C Assistant Principal Michelle Dar thoroughly appreciates the program as well.
“Including the year that I was a student, I think this is my 10th year at Albion Street. Honestly, it hasn’t [changed over the years]. It’s just a beautiful day all around,” Dar said. “Kids are smiling—Beverly kids, Albion kids. It’s a great way for our kids to learn to give back to the community and see how important that is…It’s incredible. I know how special it was when I was a student, and it was probably one of my most memorable days of high school, and I know that it does the same for these kids.”
Principal Dave Jackson, however, was experiencing the event for the first time along with many of the Beverly students.
“I’ve had some teachers come to me and say that the [Albion] kids have been waiting for this for three months, so I think it’s a good thing for our kids to see people who don’t live in our bubble of Beverly Hills, but I think it’s a great thing for the Albion kids to see that people care,” Jackson said. “I’m proud to say that I work at Beverly where we do these kinds of things.”
The students who participated felt a strong connection to the children with whom they spent their day and found it difficult to say goodbye to both the children and the rewarding experience.
“Albion was just a rewarding experience. It was incredible to see how attached everyone got to their classrooms and kids,” senior Mishelle Arakelian said. “It was really hard to leave at the end of the day!”