TUHSD students celebrate Giving Tuesday with 17th Annual Smiles of Christmas

More than 200 Tempe Union High School District students gave the gift of friendship to local elementary school students during the 17th Annual Smiles of Christmas event.

Marcos de Niza High School hosted 230 Frank Elementary School students who were paired up with a high school student for a day of fun. The pairs spent the morning making crafts, decorating cookies, playing carnival games, taking photos with Santa, listening to live performances and eating lunch together.

“The purpose is to give back to our community,” said Marcos de Niza’s Krista Carr, who teaches Early Childhood Development and leads the Early Learning Center.

Tempe Union has been welcoming local elementary school students to Smiles of Christmas for the past 18 years. This is the second year in a row Marcos de Niza has hosted the event on their campus.

High school students from all seven Tempe Union High School District schools were in attendance, pulling students from various programs including Early Childhood, Student Council and athletics teams. Students from all TUHSD schools look forward to this special event every holiday season.

“This ends up being the favorite day for our high schoolers of their whole high school experience,” Carr said.

Sponsors included the Tempe Police Department, Home Depot, the U.S. Army and Medieval Times, all who offered interactive activities and projects for the pairs to participate in throughout the day.

This year, TUHSD's event also fell on Giving Tuesday, the international kick-off of a charitable season of giving back throughout the winter holidays.