Sarasota County Schools News

Third-grade students at local charter school ‘Believe’ again

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SARASOTA, Dec. 5, 2017 – For the eighth consecutive year, students in Linda Kneeland’s third-grade class at Suncoast School for Innovative Studies in Sarasota will experience the joy of the holidays with a special field trip celebrating their belief in the spirit of helping others.

The children will be picked up at 10:30 a.m., Friday, Dec. 8 at the public charter school on School Avenue by a van and taken to Macy’s at Westfield Siesta Key shopping mall. Dressed in their holiday best, they will meet the store’s general manager and deliver their letters expressing holiday wishes for themselves and others to the big red “Macy’s Santa Mail” box — part of Macy’s “Believe” campaign.

“Many of my students come from economically disadvantaged families themselves,” said Kneeland. “But they recognize that they have families, friends and a supportive school. They wanted to focus on others, so they expressed that spirit in their letters to Santa. As a special thank-you for the students’ generosity, Macy’s employees present gifts to our students. They truly appreciate them; in some cases they are the only presents the students will receive other than the gifts I give them.”

As in past years, Too Jay’s Deli will provide a meal for the class during their visit to the mall. This year Too Jay’s will again serve the students.

“We’re grateful to everyone who has contributed to making this such a memorable experience for our students,” said Kneeland. “And my students are happy that, in some small way, they can play a role in making a special child happy.”  

Macy’s nostalgic holiday “Believe” campaign was inspired by the New York Sun’s famous “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” editorial from 1897. The annual campaign includes letter-writing “Believe Stations” in Macy’s stores across the country.

Macy’s is making a $1 donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for each letter deposited in Macy’s Santa Mail, up to $1 million, to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. On National Believe Day, Friday, Dec. 8 — the day Kneeland’s students will visit the store — Macy’s will offer a double donation, providing an additional $1 per letter to Make-A-Wish, up to an extra $1 million, above the existing $1 million campaign goal.

According to its website, Macy’s has raised more than $100 million in total giving since 2003; impacting more than 2.4 million people by the wishes the company has helped grant.  

Suncoast School for Innovative Studies is located at 845 S. School Ave., Sarasota.


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