Rock Hill students serve up Breakfast with Santa Claus

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 27, 2011

ELIZABETH TOWNSHIP — Santa Claus was the center of attention Saturday morning at Rock Hill High School but his appearance at the National Honor Society sponsored breakfast will go toward providing 50 elementary students with some extra attention of their own this Christmas season.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the club’s The Big Cover Up project, which seeks to give coats, hats and gloves, to 50 needy Rock Hill Elementary students.

Adviser Krista Hayes said this is the second year honor society students have sponsored the breakfast to raise funds for the project.

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“It’s an economical way to raise money, and a way for everyone in the community to participate,” she said.

Dorothy Blevins who brought her three boys, Caleb, 7, Chase, 5 and Colton, 3, to eat with Santa, said the event was perfect for her family.

“Feeding a family of five for $25 and I don’t have to cook. It’s worth it,” she said, adding her little ones were excited to see Santa and tell him their wish lists.

Caleb and Chase went on stage to sit on jolly old St. Nick’s lap but Colton was a little too shy. He was waiting for Santa — played by high school senior Will McCollister — to come to him instead. When he finally got Santa’s ear, Colton said he would ask “for a Mickey Mouse clubhouse.”

Christian Depriest, 4, reported to Santa that he had been a good boy this year and asked him to bring “some Army men and a toy shotgun” on Christmas morning.

His mother, Ashlee Depriest, a RHHS graduate, praised the honor society’s project, saying her family attended in order to support it.

“I think it’s an amazing cause and I think it’s great that this community can come together and support that cause,” she said.

Arlene Thibodaux brought her 7-year-old granddaughter Angela Stapleton to see Santa but also to support the students. All six of her children graduated from the school, she said, adding “I think it’s a good cause that they are trying to help the people that don’t have a lot.”

Angela Stapleton was excited to see Santa and to remind him, as she had at the mall, that “I really want a, take a walk in the park puppy.”

“I was walking by one in Toys-R-Us and it kept making noises at me! It kept saying, “Will you buy me?’ Will you buy me’?” she added. Thibodaux explained the toy is an electronic dog operated by a remote control leash.

“Seeing the little kids get excited about Santa,” made the morning enjoyable for senior Lauren Pernestti, who got up early along with 10 of her classmates to volunteer at the breakfast.

“It makes you feel good and grateful for what you do have,” added senior Caleb Ray, who noted The Big Cover Up is a good example of the society’s principals in practice.

“That’s what honor society is,” he said. “You set guidelines for yourself to follow and be a leader.”

Hayes said the group hopes to raise $7,000 for the project. It will also receive a $2,000 grant from the United Way River Cities to help with the purchase of items. It has also received donation from Pick ‘n Save, Goldstreet Muffler and other local businesses and individuals. Inquiries about donations should be sent to Hayes at

The society will host a Christmas party for elementary students on Dec. 9, when it will hand out items purchased by proceeds of the breakfast and the ongoing fundraising drive.