Penns Valley

On Centre: Penns Valley | Community helps make Christmas merry for students in Penns Valley

Christmas will come this week for dozens of Penns Valley students thanks in part to some generous donations from the community.

The Secret Angel and Christmas of Hope programs, sponsored by the Penns Valley Area School District, are providing gifts and food to 20 families with high school students and 12 more with elementary students.

Penns Valley school officials said the annual effort was again a success in 2012, raising more than $5,000 for high school students alone.

Sponsored by the Penns Valley Area High School student council, the Secret Angel program began in 2002 as a way to help less fortunate families of high school students. It was soon extended to the elementary school with the Christmas of Hope program, according to the district’s website.

Students are nominated — confidentially — by school guidance counselors, who then interview the students to create a wish list. The lists are passed on to student council members who serve as secret shoppers.

School officials said cash donations collected by local churches and the generosity of faculty members made purchasing the gifts a reality. Some student council members also kicked in, exceeding their spending limits.

“We are truly blessed to live in the Penns Valley Area community,” Karen Myers, Secret Angel coordinator and district counseling secretary, said in a release.

Turkey and all the other ingredients for Christmas dinner were also supplied by donations collected by an area church.

Saturday night at the movies

The Old Gregg School and Community Center kicked off a new monthly community movie night on Saturday with some family friendly, holiday-themed films.

The event encouraged families to bring pillows and blankets to the gymnasium at the former school turned community center in Spring Mills. Admission was free, and snacks were available through the Penns Valley Youth Center.

Organizers said they plan to hold community movie night on a monthly basis going forward.