Every year in the weeks leading to winter break, the Kingswood Oxford Middle School community donates Christmas presents to children throughout greater Hartford.
They put these presents under a Christmas tree located in the Middle School’s Oxford hall, known as the Giving Tree.
The Giving Tree tradition was started by former longtime KO Middle School English teacher Mrs. Nancy Horowitz, years ago. She was inspired by Mrs. Christine Davis who also used to work at KO.
Mrs. Davis was very involved in her community and told Mrs. Horowitz that children in her community weren’t getting Christmas gifts because their families couldn’t afford to buy them.
After years of leading this tradition of giving back to the community, Mrs. Horowitz left the Middle School and looked for someone to carry on the tradition.
Middle School Spanish teacher Mrs. Erika Costantini quickly stepped up and offered to continue organizing it.
“I wanted these families to wake up Christmas morning to a really special gift,” Mrs. Costantini said. She also mentioned that she wanted to continue the Giving Tree for her advisees and that the Giving Tree is part of her Christmas now.
In the Middle School the Giving Tree is a big operation with multiple people helping out. It all starts with Mrs. Horowitz supplying Mrs. Costantini with a list of children, their age, their gender, and what gift they would like.
Then Mrs. Costantini’s advisee group makes tags with this information to be hung up on the tree.
Next, members of the Kingswood Oxford community take a tag and buy the requested gift. As a thank you for supplying a gift they receive a candy cane.
Lastly, history teacher Mr. Andy Krugman helps to deliver all of these gifts.
English teacher Mrs. Lynne Levine said that the reason members of the KO community don’t wrap the gift is so the children’s parents can wrap the item for their child.
Eighth-Grader student Mathieu Champagne takes a tag every year. “I think it is a nice way to feel like you are really helping someone out instead of just getting gifts,” he said.
Mrs. Levine said that to her it is part of the Christmas season. Mrs. Levine knew Mrs. Davis and enjoys helping out because
“It is a great project. I think about how much my family has and I realize that if we don’t buy things for these kids, they won’t get one present. It is so important that they get at least one,” she said.
Every year around Christmas time the Kingswood Oxford Middle School will continue to give back to the greater community.