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Chantilly Students Bring Christmas Cheer to Shelter Residents

The students collected over 60 toys for local children in need.

Chantilly High School photography students celebrated the Christmas season by making sure Santa Claus had enough toys to go around at a local family shelter. 

The students, who are all in photography classes or the school's club, collected over 60 toys to wrap and distribute at the Katherine Hanley Family Shelter in Fairfax last week. All of the toys were donations from themselves or their families, no outside drives conducted.  

Betty Simmons, the students' photography teacher, knew that she wanted to help the students do a service project, and asked Officer Wayne Twombly, of the Fair Oaks Police Station, for ideas of what to do. Twombly suggested the shelter, and the students rose to the occasion by collecting over 60 toys. 

"We come from an area that has so much, and they recognize that, I think," Simmons said. 

"They really seemed to enjoy it," she added. 

The students were able to obtain service hours for the project, but were unaware of that until well after they had collected the toys. It was much more about celebrating the spirit of the season, Simmons said. 

"It feels good to know that you're helping someone," said Audrey Adams, a freshman in the photography class. "It's like the best feeling in the world." 


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