CLEVELAND, Ohio- Inside Artemus Ward Elementary School on Cleveland's west side, an unexpected guest visited classrooms, delivering cheer amid lessons.
Each student received a gift from Santa for the second year, an idea dreamed up by physical education teacher, Jeff Szwagulak.
“The inspiration for this was my parents. Growing up I had great Christmases,” he said. “Teaching in Cleveland, I know some of the kids don't have the best Christmases at home.”
Last year, he began making sure all 560 students in preschool through eighth grade get a gift, from sports equipment, to books, to toys.
“Making sure they have a Christmas. If it's not at home, they have it at our school,” Szwagulak said.
He raised about $2,000 for the gifts online and in the community, with staff and families chipping in. They even held after-school wrapping parties. Then Santa delivered the gifts classroom by classroom, brightening the day for students like Trinity Vance, who received an art activity kit.
“I think it's a school full of good kids,” Vance, who’s in third grade, said. “It makes it fun because you're going to be happy all day because you got a present.”
Szwagulak said he’s planning to continue the tradition for years to come and hopes it spread to other schools.