As the leaves change color and people begin to gather gifts for Christmas, Independence Academy High School gets ready for a special community Christmas all their own.

Ben Luker and Kelsey Murphy are students at Independence Academy.


As the leaves change color and people begin to gather gifts for Christmas, Independence Academy High School gets ready for a special community Christmas all their own.

Every year, IAHS celebrates Christmas with the 250 residents at Pleasant Heights, a low-income housing facility. This tradition began in 2001, and has been a unique part of IAHS’s Service Learning course.

On Dec. 16, students and staff from IAHS, along with the kindergarten classes from Bryant Elementary School, will travel to Pleasant Heights and deliver a gift bag to each resident. Following the delivery, a Christmas celebration will take place on the main floor. Pleasant Heights residents will be able to enjoy music from IAHS’s band, The Jammers, who will be accompanied by kindergartners singing Christmas carols. There will also be cookies, cakes, drinks and an array of other Christmas goodies to enjoy.

Pleasant Heights is home to both elderly and disabled community members. In the past, a local company was able to provide IAHS with gifts for Pleasant Heights. Sadly, the company went out of business. The closing of this company left IAHS without gifts for the Pleasant Heights residents. Many residents have very little family and some have no family at all. This leaves many without a Christmas holiday. The students and staff at IAHS have become family to the residents of Pleasant Heights over the past decade, and although it is celebrated before Christmas, it is the Christmas that they look forward to, and celebrate, each and every year.

IAHS continues to take on the challenge of filling 250 paper grocery bags with an assortment of gifts and trinkets for Pleasant Heights residents. Gifts are donated by IAHS and community members.

Suggestions for items are:

Bags of candy Socks and slippers Stocking caps, gloves and winter scarves Writing utensils such as pens, pencils, stationary and stamps Small decorative items that are able to fit in grocery bags including picture frames, Christmas decorations, calendars, wall hangings, vases, plaques, figurines or small lamps Lotion, shampoo and soap Coffee mugs

Donations are needed. If you would like to make a donation, they can be mailed or dropped off at Independence Academy, 600 W. Mechanic Independence, Mo. 64050. IAHS staff members will also be more than happy to pick up any donated items. Checks should be made out to Independence Academy. All monetary donations will be used to purchase additional gifts for the Pleasant Heights residents.

Please contact Angela Weatherford by email at angela_weatherford@indep.k12.mo.us or call 816-521-5505 for more information.