‘Tis the Season for Sheppard!

‘Twas the holiday season, when all through CB

The students were scurrying, as all could see. .

Cards were delivered from forums with care

In hopes that Sheppard soon would be there.”

Once again December is upon us, and here at CB South that means the beginning of the Sheppard season.Now a tradition, the Sheppard Project provides students and staff the opportunity to deliver gifts and holiday spirit to Isaac Sheppard Elementary School, located in North Philadelphia, encouraging interactions among students for a winter celebration.

Senior Sheppard leader Devon Grosso said, “When you leave the Central Bucks area you reach a certain point when you know you aren’t home anymore,” which is what many students feel like upon arrival at Sheppard. “But as you enter the classroom you realize the environment is still the same, although these children don’t have much, they are blessed for the little they do have and are always willing to give.”

Like most Sheppard participants, Grosso became involved her sophomore year. As a student council cabinet member, she had the opportunity to visit the school itself, even though delivering the gifts is a privilege exclusive to seniors.

The following year she decided to take on a larger role.

“When I was a junior, I applied for a leadership position for the 2015- 2016 school year Sheppard Project,” she said. “During the process I endured a series of interviews, and once selected, I had the opportunity to shadow the past year’s leaders Julia Corr and Emma Burke.”

But, she explained, this is not the only way to get involved. Students can pick up applications in the house offices at the end of November. From there, a panel of teachers review the applications and make their selections. Teachers look for students who best represent the CB South community, those who stand out as leaders among their classmates, think “outside of the box,” and are active participants in giving back to their community.

Even if students aren’t selected to visit the Sheppard School, there are still ways to help out. Grosso emphasizes the important role Titan Forums and the CB South student body play in contributing to the magic of Sheppard. “Throughout December we assign Titan Forums an age group from kindergarten to fourth grade, asking for gift and money donations,” she said. “We also hold holiday card making parties and wrapping parties, and it is really nice to see people come out to support this cause while getting in the holiday spirit.”

On Wednesday, December 23, students and staff will visit Sheppard School bearing gifts for a day full of holiday festivities. Grosso said that students will work together to “build gingerbread houses while drinking hot chocolate and singing cheerful tunes.”

Grosso gave insight on a new aspect of Sheppard — bringing books to read aloud to the children and then donate to the school to enjoy over the years to come.

But the most anticipated moment is the arrival of Santa Claus. “We start with a countdown to get the kids excited, and the looks on their faces when he walks through that door really says it all. There is no other way to explain the feelings associated with this moment of joy; it is indescribable,” she said.

Grosso reflected on how being a part of Sheppard has affected her as a person. “Giving back to my community has become a big part in shaping who I am as a person and the values I live by. If we have a chance and the means to help rebuild a fellow school, why wouldn’t we?”

And it seems the rest of the CB South community couldn’t agree with her more.

Senior Sheppard participant Alyssa Mallon said, “I believe that CB South carries on this tradition because we know how much of an impact our involvement has on these kids and their school. There is no better feeling than giving back and helping those when we can and… it’s a tradition that truly symbolizes what the holidays are all about.”

In preparation for next year’s Sheppard Project, Devon leaves these words of wisdom: “It is not about the gifts as much as it is about bringing people together. Enjoy every moment along the way and take it all in.”