Albion Street Elementary School Catherine gagulashvili & Ava seccuro

Senior Willa Ziegenfuss, having visited Albion Elementary School for the past two years with the Madrigals Singers, was grateful to have a more hands-on experience with the students in her visit with the senior class this year. "It was great to see the students in their classrooms and to actually connect with them. I also enjoyed being able to watch the Madrigals’ performance as an outsider. It showed me how much the kids value our presence. We would sing along to the Christmas songs which sparked conversations about our favorite holiday traditions," she said.

Seniors Gabrielle Urman (top left) and Cori Dyner (bottom) help special education preschoolers open and play with their presents.

Senior Tohar Zamir dressed up as Santa Claus this year; his presence was highly welcomed by the younger grades, but slightly challenged by the older students. "I wanted to be Santa mainly so that I could be part of getting kids excited for the holidays, even if it meant to trick them first," he said. "Most memorable by far was the moment in which a child sat in my lap, unprompted, in class and started listing off his wish list. But that was rivaled by a class of sixth graders trying to expose me as a fraud. All in all, one of the most uplifting days I’ve ever had."

Amy Bojorquez, an early education teacher of five years, sees the impact Beverly's visit has on the students. “It means a lot to our kids this year and the kids are excited, it brings excitement to us," she said. "We definitely appreciate Beverly [Hills] High School for coming out here for the little ones and sharing all the Christmas joy and cheer with them this year.”
Third-grader Gabriella, after giving Santa a card from her class, received her present and gleefully announced that it reminded her of her preschool that taught her to speak English. Ziegenfuss quipped that moments like seeing students receive their presents made the experience worthwhile. "The most rewarding part was seeing the kids in the classroom," she said. "When I was reading them stories and playing games with them, they would make little remarks like 'I’m so happy you’re here,' Just spending a few hours of our day there made a tremendous difference in their holiday season. I’m so grateful for the connections I made with each bright, strong-minded kid."
Created By
Catherine Gagulashvili