Return to Headlines

Trio of CHS Students Organize Dec. 17 Winter Carnival to Benefit Children's Christmas Wishes

                A trio of Cleburne High School students are the organizers behind a Winter Carnival for kids, set for December 17 from 4-7 p.m. in the CHS Indoor Practice Facility to benefit Children’s Advocacy Center of Johnson County and the Salvation Army Angel Tree program.

Admission for ages 10 and up is $5 or a new toy-- those younger will get in free—with all experiencing an afternoon of carnival-style games, a variety of activities, crafts, inflatables, food and fun. A car show and Christmas market are also planned. Booth spaces are available for $20.

                SkillsUSA members Angie Andersen, Joselyn Huerta and Elizabeth Preston have been working with fellow CHS student organizations and local businesses in putting together the first-time event.

                “The idea for this began on a field trip to a leadership conference,” Andersen said. “I said I wished there was a way we could help kids who might not have a Christmas with toys and surprises.”

                The remark snowballed into a service project for their SkillsUSA chapter, and a collaboration that has brought a swarm of Yellow Jackets together for what is now a campus-wide initiative.

                “I think this all came about at the perfect time,” Andersen said. “We have just started a Chick-fil-A Leader Academy at CHS, so we’ve been talking to student leaders to see who wanted to help us put on a Winter Carnival. We think having it on campus will work out great--our indoor practice facility is big enough to hold all the games and activities, and we have lots of parking.”

 “Our chapter needed a service project,” Preston said. “This has been a good learning experience for us. As project coordinators we have been doing a lot of the legwork.”

                The Hive popup shop is among the booths to be featured at the Winter Carnival, with Jacket spirit items created by CHS life skills students available for purchase. Culinary arts student chefs will be conducting cookie decorating at their booth. National Art Honor Society members will be providing face painting, Student Council members are sponsoring a letters to Santa booth and Cleburne FFA members will be setting up a “life on the farm” petting zoo.   

                “We decided to have the carnival benefit Children’s Advocacy Center because it does so much to help kids,” Andersen said. “What we raise will also help us fill the wishes of kids of all ages through the Salvation Army Angel Tree.  If anyone deserves a special Christmas, it’s the children these two agencies are serving. We want a lot of people to come to the Winter Carnival, because the toys and funds will go for kids.”

                CHS teacher and SkillsUSA chapter sponsor Nathan VanRyn is very proud of the efforts of the three seniors, and excited by the response from their fellow Yellow Jackets and the business community.

                “This has been a huge undertaking,” VanRyn said. “We have already received $200 worth of toys from Lone Star Ag Credit. Our goal is to do this right, and hopefully do it every year, with more community involvement.”

              The student organizers are now focusing on getting the word out regarding the Winter Carnival--and wishing for a big turnout.

                “What began with some games has grown to include bounce houses, food trucks--and Santa,” Huerta said. “I like being in SkillsUSA because I have learned so much about communication, marketing and the business aspect of things. Being involved in this project has given me the opportunity to put all that to work. Just by doing this, I have met so many people in our community. We have a lot of sophomore and junior members helping with this, so it can continue next year. I want this to be a Cleburne High School tradition.”

                For more information or questions on the Winter Carnival, email CHS SkillsUSA chapter sponsor Nathan VanRyn at