Oak Grove gets new shoes for the holidays
Oak Grove Elementary students could not contain their excitement as they walked into the school gymnasium and saw hundreds of new shoes neatly organized by size and color.
Santa Claus greeted each one one of them with a candy cane and a warm smile.
Classic Christmas music intertwined with children's laughter, and the smell of hot chocolate was reminiscent of past holiday seasons.
CPM Real Estate President David Wright spearheaded the operation, Sneakers for the Season, which partnered with local businesses. The businesses made monetary donations in order to buy a pair of shoes and socks for the entire student population of Oak Grove Elementary.
“It’s so neat to see their faces as they walk through the door and see all the shoes laid out, knowing that they’re going to get a new pair today,” Wright said.
School staff members were aware of the need for new footwear for the majority of the student population, and shared that insight with the school district. That's when the school was connected with 'Sneakers for the Season'.
"If you can only imagine going to school with shoes that maybe are not weather appropriate and then you learn when you get to school today that you're going home with a brand new pair of shoes, and for some of our students, this is their first new pair of shoes ever," Liz Landon, Oak Grove Elementary School Principal said, as she fought to hold back her tears.
Some students were shy and some were eager, but they were all happy to get a new pair of shoes.
Studnets lined up and waited their turn as an off-duty real estate associate helped each one pick out and try on as many shoes as it took until the students were pleased with the new pair on their feet.
"Some kids, they don't know quite know what they want and others just immediately know, that's the pair of shoes they want," Wright said. "We help them try them on, give them the socks and get them with Santa."
"We had some drop box locations where people could donate shoes, but we want new shoes and brand names because the kids like brand names," Wright said.
Students gathered and admired one another's shoes, shared their reasons for their final selections and highlighted particular functions in their new shoes.
"The pink, I really like pink, because it's my favorite color, so I really liked it," Madison Bulabar, second grade student at Oak Grove said.
In September 2018, the students of Oak Grove Elementary raised $37,000 for their new race track, but most of them did not have the adequate footwear to play on it.
"Our students are now track ready, weather ready, holiday ready, the list goes on," Landon said.