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John Jay students take elementary students Christmas shopping

Students continue nearly 50-year-old tradition

SAN ANTONIO – John Jay High School students have been taking underprivileged elementary school children Christmas shopping for nearly five decades.

Students from seven different elementary schools headed to Walmart on Tuesday with a personal shopper from Jay High School and $50 to spend on shoes and toys.

"I picked shoes that are colorful, because I kind of like colors. I like colors a lot. And then I picked a Barbie, because I really like to play with Barbies," third-grader Andrea Simms said.

High school students and local businesses put the funds together to make sure the kids get gifts.

"During classes we ask for extra change, you know, and they say every penny counts. So every day, I believe it's for two weeks, we go into the classes and ask if they have spare change," John Jay senior Aaliyah Cruz said. "It feels good, it really does. It puts happiness in my heart to know that I'm making the kids happy."

Junior Mark Marez has been on both sides of the experience, first as an elementary school shopper and now as a high school guide.

He said his current role was more fun.

"Just trying to talk to them and get to know them. They really like the toys more than the shoes," he said.

Tuesday's shopping spree was the 48th time Jay students have taken younger students shopping.