Spaghetti and Santa

Antelope Valley Press - - News - By JULIE DRAKE Val­ley Press Staff Writer [email protected]­

LAN­CASTER — The line of chil­dren wait­ing to meet Santa at the sixth an­nual Lopes Christmas Lun­cheon stretched across the cafe­te­ria, Mon­day af­ter­noon.

The menu fea­tured spaghetti, salad, mashed pota­toes, pud­ding, fruit and milk. A record crowd of at least 300 chil­dren and adults turned out for the an­nual event.

Fam­i­lies joined one another at the long lunch ta­bles to share meals and chat.

“This is a good way to get to know every­body,” Glo­ria Bal­maceda, who at­tended the lun­cheon with her two daugh­ters and four grand­chil­dren, said.

The prepa­ra­tion and or­ga­ni­za­tion of the an­nual event is a school-wide ac­tiv­ity co­or­di­nated by Alice Rice, AV High’s health tech­ni­cian and Jen­nifer Bas­com, sec­re­tary to Prin­ci­pal Eric Stan­ford.

“It’s a chance for our par­ents and our teach­ers and our staff to get to­gether for some­thing fun,” Rice said.

Chil­dren 12 and younger could get a pic­ture taken with Santa and en­ter a raf­fle ticket for a gift. Teenagers and adults could en­ter raf­fle tick­ets for gift cards.

AV High Bi­ol­ogy Teacher Marco Reyes and his wife So­corro, a Span­ish teacher at Quartz Hill High School, put to­gether dif­fer­ent crafts for the chil­dren.

“They do this ev­ery year out of their own pocket,” Rice said. “It’s not even in­cluded in my bud­get.”

So­corro Reyes said it’s “a lit­tle time to give back.”

The art ac­tiv­i­ties in­cluded mak­ing a Christmas tree or­na­ment, pup­pets, elves and col­or­ing Christmas-re­lated de­signs. Stu­dent vol­un­teers as­sisted the young­sters with the crafts.

“I think it’s good that I’m here be­cause it’s fun to see how the AV does all kinds of things,” 10-year-old Alexia Ortega, whose mother works at the school, said.

The young­ster was dressed like an elf. She also as­sisted Santa by pass­ing out candy canes to chil­dren who sat on his lap.

Joe Cook, di­rec­tor of Food Ser­vices for An­te­lope Val­ley Union High School Dis­trict, vol­un­teered for the event.

“What a won­der­ful turnout to­day and the weather didn’t stop any­body,” he said, in ref­er­ence to the rain.

The lo­cal chap­ter of the Cal­i­for­nia School Nu­tri­tion As­so­ci­a­tion do­nated $200 to­ward the event.

Mem­bers of AV High’s girls var­sity bas­ket­ball team helped serve the food and mem­bers of the boys var­sity bas­ket­ball team helped clean up.

“We love giv­ing back to our com­mu­nity,” stu­dent ath­lete Shynyia Lemon said.

JULIE DRAKE/Val­ley Press

Ten-year-old Alexia Ortega col­ors the back­ground of a snow­man or­na­ment Mon­day af­ter­noon at An­te­lope Val­ley High School’s sixth an­nual Lopes Christmas Lun­cheon.

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