Those who have been at Hugh B. Bain Middle School over the years have fond memories of the annual Holiday Shops that have taken place inside the school. The Holiday Shop gives students an opportunity to browse for a gift for a special someone and to take it home wrapped and ready to go in time for the holidays.
After a year off last year, the Bain Holiday Shop was revived this year, bigger and better than ever, thanks to the combined efforts and dedication of the school faculty and staff. Faculty member Holly Scripsack spearheaded the efforts.
“Holly Scripsack approached me earlier in the school year and asked if this was something she could do,” said Principal Jeffrey Taylor. “I was so happy to be able to say yes and to have her bring it back this year.”
To make the shop possible, the school faculty and staff, along with community partners, including the Cranston Teachers’ Alliance, donated all of the gifts, some of which were handmade. There were enough gifts that the more than 600 students at the school would each be able to shop for one, free of charge. The school staff also donated the wrapping products as well as their own time spent wrapping for the students. Students at Cranston High School East also used some of their own time, volunteering to help out at the shop or with the wrapping. Many of them were formerly Bain students themselves, and had participated in past years’ Holiday Shop events.
The shop was set up for the three-day duration in the faculty lounge at the school where teachers normally would be eating their lunches. Fabric table cloths and table runners draped each of the half-dozen tables where the gifts were all spread out on display, soft music played in the background, and staff members quietly circulated through the room as the students moved from table to table, picking out a gift.
Scripsack made sure to hold back items from day to day, restocking the tables so that each day’s shoppers would be getting equal opportunity to choose from a fully stocked shop. All gifts were free of charge to the students and the gift-wrapping services were provided as well.
“I have seen students coming down the hallways beaming, they’re so happy,” said Taylor. “One student said to me, ‘This is for my mom,’ and he was so happy. For me, this is what it’s all about.”
“This has been very heartwarming for me to watch,” said Scripsack. “It’s been very uplifting, especially at this time of year, seeing everyone come together. It’s been very special and I’m so glad that I’ve been able to be involved.”
The shop was kept a secret for families, with announcements and notifications being made during the school day and on Bain TV only, in the hopes that gift recipients will be fully surprised upon seeing their gifts.
“You know, we’re always talking about educating a child and how we need to know their families, their parents, we need to form partnerships, to get families into the school, but this is a two-way street,” said Taylor. “This is how Bain gives back to Bain.”