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Learn to Lead program participants enjoy special Christmas dinner

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MASSENA - Students in the Massena Central School Learn to Lead program had a special Christmas dinner compliments of VFW Post 1143 and their Ladies Auxiliary.

The post hosted a spaghetti Christmas dinner for participants in the program, which pairs upperclassmen with underclassmen who could use some guidance and mentoring through their high school years.

“The folks that hosted the dinner bought and prepared all of the food, they put together little bags of candy for each of the kids and made cookies for them. It was truly a special night, especially considering that for many of these kids, it would be their only celebration of Christmas, A lot of them weren’t going to be in any family situation over Christmas. A couple of kids were going to go to somebody else’s house on Christmas to have dinner. It was very important to them. They needed it,” said guidance counselor and program coordinator Erin Covell.

Ms. Covell chaperoned the event along with fellow guidance counselor and program coordinator Robert Jordan, high school Principal Patrick Farrand, Superintendent William W. Crist, Jan Normile, Steven Booth and Danielle Brown.

“The chaperones pitched in to give each kid a movie pass for break in hopes that they would go with their Learn to Lead partner,” she said.

Ms. Covell said the post had provided dinner for the program participants last year, and program coordinators were approached by mentors this year about doing another Christmas dinner.

“I thought it was kind of a one-time thing, but the kids wanted to get together again. Myself, Bob (Jordan) and Pat (Farrand) were ready to foot the bill for it,” she said.

But, when they contacted Ladies Auxiliary President Patricia Rubado, they were told the club would be happy to do it for free.

“My first call was to Pat (Rubado). When I called Pat, she’s like, we have it. They did such a good job. Not only did they do spaghetti, meatballs, salad and drinks, they made cookies for all the kids and little bags for the kids,” Ms. Covell said.

She wanted to acknowledge those who had a hand in making the day special for the students: Ms. Rubado, who also cooked, Treasurer Jean Jarvo, Junior Vice President Debbie Barton, Gert Paller, Secretary Willa Murphy, Jim Barton, senior vice president of the Men’s Auxiliary, Jerry Rubado, Jerry Jarvo and John Fertig.

Ms. Rubado said she and the other volunteers at the post were more than happy to provide some Christmas cheer for the group.

“The counselors wanted to do something for the group for Christmas. They called and wanted to know, if we cooked spaghetti and meatballs, how much we would charge. Our Auxiliary said there would be no charge. The VFW Ladies Auxiliary is great for saying yes, we’ll do it, no problem,” Ms. Rubado said.

“These kids are so special. They look forward to it,” she said. “It went wonderfully. The students and counselors and principal were just unbelievable. They were so polite to everybody and treated the hall with respect. They were so special and so thankful and so polite. We did a little gift for them. How can you turn them down?”

Ms. Rubado said they hope to do something with the group again in the summer.

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