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Last updated 1/9/2019 at Noon

Students shop for free at annual Christmas

Many students at Explorer Middle School were excited to shop for free Christmas gifts for their family members at the annual Riviera Christmas Store last month.

The store began more than 10 years ago when teacher Donna Riviera began collecting gift donations from her neighbors so that students in her class could shop for their families.

“We have grown Donna’s idea to serve 200 students this year,” said Traci Lane, the parent liaison at Explorer who now coordinates the program. “Students shop for gifts, then wrap them. I employ student helpers to set up the store and create signage.”

For the event to be successful, Lane collects gift donations such as perfume and cologne, towels, scarves, blankets, stuffed animals, jewelry, games, tools, movies, dishes, back packs, toys, and new and gently used clothing, hats, and gloves.

“It is a very special event for us,” said Lane. “My favorite has to be watching siblings work together to shop for their family members.”


To William Fischer, a junior at Kamiak High School, who was chosen as one of 15 high school students from across the nation to serve on the first-ever Microsoft Council for Digital Good.

The group was selected by Microsoft for their common interest in raising awareness of digital-world realities such as cyberbullying and sextortion, and to promote digital civility. To be considered, Fischer went through an extensive application process, including a video application.

Fischer worked with fellow council members to create an open letter that addresses digital issues and to present it to law and policy makers at an event held in Washington, D.C., in August.

At that event, First Lady Melania Trump met with the council members to learn about their individual creative projects.


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