‘Gift’ of music

Published 5:20 pm Friday, December 15, 2023

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AHOSKIE – There are times when meaningful gifts do not need to be wrapped.

Wednesday afternoon here at Ahoskie Health and Rehab was one such occasion.

The faces of the residents and staff were happy and bright as eight students at C.S. Brown High School STEM made their way down each hallway of the facility where they “made the season bright” by singing Christmas carols.

Quoting the late poet Maya Angelou, C.S. Brown Principal Ronica Watford said the effort by her students warms her heart.

“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver,” Watford said, citing Angelou’s words.

“At C.S. Brown High School STEM, we seek to build character and prepare our students to be positive, contributing members of our local communities and society,” Watford remarked. “Visiting local nursing home facilities not only brings joy to our student’s hearts, it brings a breath of fresh air and musical enjoyment to the residents of these facilities. It shows the residents that there are young people who pride themselves on dedicating their time to a meaningful cause. It instills hope and optimism into our community by demonstrating that young people are still willing to come together to support and help others.

“Today, our students were moved by the overwhelming comments of thanks from the residents and are already thinking of ways to give back to our community in the upcoming months,” Watford added.

Watford, along with Linda Parker, a member of the school’s staff, accompanied the students as they walked down the hallways and sang three well-known carols: “Jingle Bells”, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”, and “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.” The student carolers were Alexandra Liverman, Jeremiah Lynn, Noah Campbell, Marissa Lashbrook, Keviona Taylor, Nyesha Clements, Jaden Johnson, and Kiaishia Parker.

Before leaving, the students presented several holiday-themed bags containing socks for the residents.

A resident of Ahoskie Health and Rehab (right) listens as the C.S. Brown Carolers perform during their Wednesday visit. Staff Photo by Cal Bryant

“Our students said they wanted to engage in community service projects, help the less fortunate, and be a blessing to others,” Watford noted. “During the month of November, we hosted a ‘Bear Pride’ canned food drive and donated the items to local churches. This month, we decided to host the ‘Merry Sockmas’ sock donation drive to spread warmth, joy, and holiday cheer.”

Watford said the socks were either donated or purchased from money collected from students, staff, parents/guardians, and community stakeholders.

“This is a tradition that I plan to continue annually as it significantly contributes to the personal growth of our students while substantially impacting the organization and the community it serves,” Watford said. “This allows students to pour into the community that supports our school and their education.”

She stressed providing essential sustenance to the less fortunate allow the students to engage with diverse individuals from various walks of life.

“Doing so broadens their perspective and enriches their understanding of people’s challenges,” Watford stressed. “At C.S. Brown High School STEM, not only do we want to see all of our students excel academically, but we also want our students to understand the joy in giving and see that in the realm of community service, there are never too many helping hands, there is always something we can contribute.”

“Thank the good Lord for people like this,” said one resident of Ahoskie Health & Rehab. “I really enjoyed it. It made me feel good.”

“We are so thankful and blessed when groups come and visit our residents, especially during this time of the year,” said Carolyn Pierce, Activity Director at Ahoskie Health & Rehab. “The residents love to see young people come and visit and offer entertainment like they saw and heard today. It lifts their spirits. And we are also thankful for the socks that were donated to our residents.”

The C.S. Brown STEM Carolers also visited The Ahoskie House on Wednesday.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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