Third-graders eager to bring Christmas joy to those less fortunate

Visitors to Maemae Elementary School on a quiet Monday morning may have wondered about some students putting gifts on a table.

Within minutes, quiet became commotion with child after child clamoring to give and tables laden with gifts.

Third-graders earned money to purchase toys for other children they don’t even know.

“We helped our parents to do chores and we earned money and went on a trip to Toys’R’Us to buy toys for less unfortunate kids,” explained third-grader Makia Oqueneo.

“There is about 105 third-graders, and I think each one of them must have purchased four or more toys, and there was one boy that actually did chores and earned $100, so he had fun shopping,” said teacher Jan Zane-Chin.

The annual Christmas assembly has included students giving through Laulima for years.

“I think it dates back to 15 years ago when we wanted to teach children what the true meaning of Christmas is,” said Zane-Chin. “We wanted them to learn how they could be a positive community contributor, no matter what grade they’re at.”

Life lessons were reflected throughout the assembly with the children’s mantra “all day, every day.”

“We should think about others and not just about ourselves,” said Oqueneo.

As the assembly winds down, the tables empty and the toys were bagged for transport.

Every year, the school chooses a different Laulima recipient. This year they’re going to the children at Shriners Hospitals for Children.

“It makes me feel happy, because some kids won’t be able to have a good Christmas, so this way they’re going to have a good Christmas,” said third-grader McKenna Okinishi.

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