KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Dec. 19, 2018) – Christmas came a little bit early for a South Ozone Park elementary school class on Wednesday, when Santa Claus made a surprise appearance to deliver more than 70 presents donated by the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy women's basketball team.
Megan Broadwell, whose husband Jeff is USMMA Athletics' Equipment Manager, works at the school and described for her husband and assistant women's basketball coach Alexa Shields that some of the students might not be able to enjoy this special time of the year.
The coaching staff brought the situation to the attention of the team and an idea was born. The undefeated women's basketball team would help the class. "The girls stepped right up to the challenge of helping these children," said Shields.
"Gift-giving is a small gesture in the large scheme of happiness," said junior tri-captain Taylor Hightower (White Plains, Md.). "It also helps us to take a moment from test and regimental activities to help brighten someone else's day."
The Mariners spent a good part of this month collecting the toys for the kids and they ended up with over 70, which were delivered Wednesday by Santa Claus during the school's holiday party.
"I honestly just remember doing something similar growing up with my family," said junior tri-captain Shelby Peters (El Dorado Hills, Calif.). "So it was not a question of whether or not I wanted to do it. I knew I was going to."
To view a photo gallery of the children receiving their presents, click here.
The school, teachers and children were all extremely grateful for the gesture from the USMMA women's basketball team, who made the holidays just a little bit easier for a group of children.
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