By Robert Stoneback
The Danville News
DANVILLE — High school students are looking out for their own this holiday season with Christmas care packages sent to Danville grads turned soldiers.
This is the third year for the care packages, which began with Danville High School student Anthony Jones. “Anthony thought it was important to do this for others and he knew students who were in the military at the time,” said Tina Bartholomew, a Danville Spanish teacher and overseer of the project.
Now, Anthony is in the military, stationed in Colorado. “Last year was his first year in the army, so I thought, well, I have to do this for Anthony,” said Bartholomew. Anthony received his first care package last year and will get another this year as well, along with Danville grads Seth Thomas, stationed in Afghanistan; Pat Hack, in Hawaii; Mackenzie Baker, on the U.S.S. Enterprise; and Keegan Franks, in Texas. All of the former students graduated within the last two to three years, said Bartholomew.
The names of the graduates were provided by current high school students, who didn’t know about Anthony’s previous connection to the project. Anthony still has a brother who goes to the high school, said Bartholomew, so it’s likely that’s how they came up with his name.
Bartholomew also received collection help from biology teacher Sonia Crane. “Between the two of us we rallied and rallied and rallied,” Bartholomew said.
Items were collected starting in mid-November and continued until about Dec. 5. “We asked the whole high school” for donations, Bartholomew said. “People just kept bringing me things.”
Each care package includes toiletry items, such as tooth brushes and tooth paste, leisure time items, such as books, playing cards or CDs, stationary and snacks. Each package also has its own Christmas card included inside.
“It was hundreds and hundreds of things brought in,” Bartholomew said. She estimated that there must have been about 50 items in each soldier’s box, most of which were sent out last week. Seth’s package was sent out this past weekend as he had only just been deployed to Afghanistan.