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Maxwell students work to raise money

LAWRENCEVILLE - Olivia Smith knows what the generosity of strangers can mean to a child at Christmas.

"It was always a blessing for our family to receive gifts from someone else in the community," the Shiloh High junior said. "It was nice knowing someone else wanted to be your Santa Claus."

Smith and other health care science students at Maxwell High School of Technology used skills they learned in class to raise money to purchase Christmas gifts for children in need. The students performed blood pressure checks, charging teachers $1 and their peers 50 cents for the service.

Although this was the first time health care science students set up the "Blood Pressure Clinic," this season marks the 12th year Maxwell classes have adopted children through the Quinn House's Christmas program. The annual community service project is sponsored by Maxwell's chapter of SkillsUSA, a career and technical student organization.

Maxwell's cosmetology students sold manicures and hair cuts for $5. Each student in the class was encouraged to recruit a client.

"To think that some children don't get nothing for Christmas, it just broke my heart," said Mill Creek High senior Teka Hendrix, who studies cosmetology at Maxwell. "Everyone deserves something for Christmas."

Hendrix, also a SkillsUSA officer, spearheaded the class' efforts to buy gifts for an 8-year-old girl. She wanted to raise enough money to purchase additional items, such as a bicycle and clothing.

The school's auto services classes have sponsored children through the Quinn House program for a few years. Students sold coupons for services such as brake inspections, tire rotations and oil changes.

"It's a win-win situation," said Carlos Hernandez, a Collins Hill High senior who is enrolled in the Maxwell program. "We get to use the skills we learn and practice. At the same time, we're doing something good for the community and other people."