June 3, 2009 / Consider This

Dear santa

Written by Jan Hensel

‘Tis the season to be giving and getting, which makes it a perfect time to share a yearbook staff “Wish List” with parents and school officials. Any yearbook staff would be happy to find these under its holiday tree.

A crock pot
Request one of those four to five quart models and you can serve a staff dinner faster than you can say “Peter Piper picked a peck o, pica poles.” Chili, spaghetti, hot dogs, sloppy joes! Yum yum, yum! Having a crock pot in the yearbook room is a good idea for two reasons. First of all, serving dinner at school saves time compared to letting students make a run to a fast food restaurant. Second, cooking dinner during the day (start the crock at lunch) sends an enticing aroma into the halls and adjacent classrooms, which is great for recruitment! My favorite is steak soup-now that’s a heavenly aroma.

Paper products
If you’re going to be serving food in the classroom, you’re going to need lots of paper plates, napkins, plastic tableware, and cups. Paper towels and a few kitchen essentials such as serving spoons and a can opener are welcome gifts, too.

Small microwave
Okay, okay, I know, this is a pretty good present! We don’t even have one. What we have is a gargantuan microwave. One of the first of its kind that not only takes up the space of two modern appliances, but also weighs about as much as the Titanic. However, it keeps going, and going, and going, so it’s handy for staff meals, hot beverages, and if you dare, popcorn. The smell of freshly-popped corn is too heady during the school day, but it makes a healthy after-school snack, albeit a bit messy. (Make some for the custodians occasionally and they might not comment on the kernels that hit the floor.)

Even high school students still get a kick out of being “rewarded” for good work. Ask parents to donate silly stuff like Play Dough, Crayons, Slinkies, candy bars, etc., as well as more serious fare, such as movie gift certificates or McDonald’s coupons. We also like to keep a box full of unique and cool ink pens to give to staff members for awesome leads, outstanding stories and great photos. (Or the first person to actually get a coach to say something besides, “It was a really great year.”)

Analyze your staff needs and you can probably add to this short list. We’ve accepted a variety neat donations, such as a fan, head phones, a boom box, snack items, note pads and school supplies. And, even if you can’t get Santa to stop by this holiday season, keep your list handy. Sometimes I put a small stack of “Wish Lists” out during parent/teacher conferences, just in case one of his elves drops by!

Jan Hensel

Jan Hensel is the former adviser at Liberty High School in Liberty, Mo., where she taught yearbook, newspaper and photography.