Spaghetti and Santa
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.
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.