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  • Writer's picturetgardner1167

Nichols Hockey In Holiday Spirit

There is nothing like the smile on a child’s face at Christmas time. Except maybe knowing that you helped put a few smiles on some of those young faces.

Roughly 300 underprivileged WNY kids will have a happier holiday thanks in part to the Nichols School Girls Prep A hockey team.

On Dec.20, the Lady Vikings took part in the St.Luke’s Mission of Mercy Holiday Giveaway that distributed toys,clothesand other items to kids.

Last week the players went to St.Luke’s. They were matched up with a buddy on the team, given shopping lists for items for either a needy girl or boy then went through donated items putting together gift boxes for the recipients.

“I was really excited when I first heard that we were doing that,” said senior captain Allison Attea, who was matched up with teammate Ciara Barone.

“It’s great for our team, for team bonding and we’re doing such a great thing for the community, too that it felt good that us, representing Nichols, could do such a good thing for the community while having fun doing it.”

The first time the team took part in this event the girls were more than willing to give of themselves, but at the same time they really weren’t exactly sure what was going to be asked of them.

But once they were given instructions the uncertainty was quickly replaced by a feeling of satisfaction of knowing they were able to do something for others.

“Yeah there were so many questions,” said sophomore Katy Knoll. “We kinda didn’t know all the details until we got there. When we got there they told us pair up, grab a laundry basket or a bag. I think we had a lot more fun than we expected we would have. As Allison said it was a great team bonding thing.”

The holiday give away event was co-ordinated by St.Luke’s volunteer Nancy Polino, who is the aunt of Lady Vikings assistant coach Colleen Harris. It was that connection that paved the way for the Lady Vikings to get involved.

Knoll, who partnered with Audrey Lazar, added that the event turned into a friendly competition as each grouped challenged each other to see who could fill the most boxes in the near two hour time frame they spent at St.Luke’s.

But as the girls were filling the baskets, bags and whatever other containers they could they were at some point or another all struck by the reality of how many needed families there are right in their own backyard of WNY.

It served as a reminder of how lucky they are and how paying their good fortune forward, especially during the holidays, is the the right thing to do.

“We could almost picture ourselves in their position,” said Attea, “like if we got these gifts how happy would we be. So that made doing this even better. We knew that while we were having fun it was such a great thing for our community, too. It was really just a great experience all the way around.”

Knowing that many people view Nichols School as a privileged place, the girls also take pride in the fact that they go to a school where character and kindness is part of the daily lessons. And how they want to represent their school the right way.

Striking a chord with all of the girls they were barely on the road back to Nichols when everyone started asking when could they do something like this again? Could they come back soon and help in any way possible. Katy Knoll said that without question all of the underclassmen said they will return next Christmas and try to make an even bigger impact on the lives of the people benefiting from this event.

“We want to make it a yearly thing,” Knoll said. “Because honestly we had so much fun. There were smiles everywhere. Even just looking at the sheets with the kids names on them-you could almost just picture them opening up these gifts. It was amazing.”

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