Merry ‘Sockmas’

Published 6:25 pm Friday, December 23, 2022

AHOSKIE – With winter temperatures plummeting as Christmas approaches, it’s the perfect time to make sure your toes stay warm with a good pair of socks.

Thankfully, Hertford County High School was able to do just that for the community with their first “Merry Sockmas” donation drive. Students, staff, parents, and community members were invited to donate socks for people of all ages from Dec. 2 through Dec. 15.

HCHS Principal Ronica Watford said their original goal was to collect 400 pairs of socks. But the final total, including a few late donations as of Dec. 19, was well over four times as many as they expected, clocking in at 1,818 pairs of socks. She said it’s been great to see the enthusiasm from everyone during the donation drive, and she thanked all those who participated.

Watford explained that the children’s socks were donated to Hertford County’s Department of Social Services. The adult-sized socks were divided up to be donated to three local nursing facilities: Ahoskie Assisted Living, Ahoskie Health and Rehab (formerly Accordius at Creekside Care), and the Ahoskie House. The extras were then distributed to nursing facilities in Bertie County as well.

“There’s no county lines when it comes to giving,” Watford emphasized.

HCHS’s Student Government Association (SGA) students, accompanied by Principal Watford and other staff members, dropped off the donations at the Ahoskie facilities after school on Dec. 15. While they were there, the group provided some Christmas cheer to the residents with a rendition of popular carols such as “Jingle Bells”, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

“I think the donation process was beneficial for both parties,” Watford said afterwards. “It was beneficial for our students to be able to interact with the elderly and see the joy that it brings for us to come in. It was also very heartwarming to see how the people at each facility, how those residents, responded to the students.”

Vinetrice Reynolds and Isaiah Bishop, SGA students who participated in the donation drop-off, said they enjoyed the experience.

“We at Hertford County High School want to spread love, joy, and cheer this holiday season,” Bishop said.

“We would like to showcase our talents not only in our school community but in our local community,” Reynolds added. “It was really joyful to see the smiles on everyone’s face, just knowing that we could come and make everyone happy with what we were doing.”

Principal Watford said the school’s theme this year is “changing the game,” meaning that they’re focusing on changing the narrative and perception on academics, athletics, and in the surrounding community. The sock donation drive is just one of the ways they’re carrying out that mission.

“We’re not only going to ‘change the game’ here at the school,” she said. “We’re going to ‘change the game’ in our community as well. This was a way for us to start showcasing to our students the importance of not only giving back to your community, but the importance of being visible and being a positive figure in our community.”

In November, the school organized a canned food drive to help people out for Thanksgiving, and then they followed that up with the sock drive leading up to Christmas. Watford said they want to continue organizing similar events.

“We’re hoping this is a tradition that we can continue,” she added.

“It’s a good way for students to see it’s a blessing to be a blessing. You have to get out in your community. We have to be of service to those that are in need. That’s what we’re trying to push our students to see,” Watford concluded.