Christmas Through the Eyes of a Child is a special community partnership program that shares the voices of the children from the Floyd County school district on WMDJ 100.1 FM radio. The program began in 1998 with partners WMDJ radio, McDonald’s, and Floyd County Schools. Lafferty Enterprises, Wal-Mart, and BellSouth have each have been contributors in past years.
The Christmas writing program is now in its ninth year. Through guidance of both, a district and school program coordinator, all Floyd County students from kindergarten through grade 12 are invited to submit a writing selection that is limited to 30 seconds of radio air time. This year, students were asked to respond to the one of the following questions, “What is the best gift you have ever given?” and “What is the best gift you have ever received?”
Each school selects their top twelve writings to submit to district judges who determine the overall winner at primary, intermediate, middle, and high school levels. This year’s judges were: John Carroll, Melissa Forysth, and Kate Lowe, from Big Sandy Community and Technical College; and Melissa Little, Pam Meyer, and Thelma Spears from the community.
The judges noticed the student’s consistent depth of writing and offered, for the first time, what they named the “Silver Salute Award” to Betsy Layne Elementary School and the Floyd County Area Technical School. The Silver Salute award will be presented in the school years to follow.
At the conclusion of judging, the top 12 students from each school recorded their selections at WMDJ radio 100.1 FM. Beginning Dec. 1, each school is featured on the radio through a rotation cycle. All schools are heard throughout the month of December.
Each year, McDonald’s presents each of the 12 school winners with an “All American Meal,” and the overall school winner with a t-shirt. WMDJ also presents a t-shirt to the overall school winner, as well. Then, too, each year, the Floyd County school district presents each of the twelve school winners with decorative certificates and the overall winners from each school with a beautiful book. This year, the book selected is An Orange for Frankie, by Patricia Polacco. The story is of a young boy living in the early part of the 1900s who has his own memory of the best Christmas gift he ever gave - to a hobo; and the best gift he anticipated getting was a Christmas orange. This heart-warming story is a true account from the author’s own family.
Previous books given to student winners include: Winter’s Gift (2005); Coal Country Christmas (2004); Christmas in the Country (2003); The Gift of the Magi (2002); The Polar Express (2001); The Perfect Christmas Tree (2000); Silver Packages, (1999); and ‘Twas the Night before Christmas (1998).
The Floyd County school district hosted a reception to recognize the students, their families, and community partners, this past Sunday, Dec. 3, at the Wilkinson-Stumbo Convention Center, Jenny Wiley State Park
Christmas Through the Eyes of Child started through an idea and the efforts of Patricia C. Watson, who coordinates the project for the school district and who works along with corporate partners and school representatives. Prior to retiring in June, Nadine H. Hicks, district Parent Involvement and Reading Coordinator, led the work with this project for six of the eight years of the program’s existence. Special appreciation is given to Beverly Crisman and Maggie Hall from the school district’s central office for assistance given to support this project.