Tried and true strategy yields $2,700 in Sub for Santa donations at North Sanpete

North Sanpete student officers load gifts in school district truck for transport to Sub for Santa/Toys for Tots headquarters at the Sanpete County Fairgrounds. In front are Azlan Freeman (left), Halle Church and Aspen Clayton. In the truck are Parker Lee (left), Riley Madsen and Graciee Christiansen (with back turned).


Tried and true strategy yields $2,700 in Sub for Santa

donations at North Sanpete


By Suzanne Dean




MT. PLEASANT—For the past eight or nine years, North Sanpete High School student leaders have used a simple strategy to motivate administrators, students, faculty and staff to donate to Sub for Santa.

“Teachers and staff pledge to do crazy things if the students raise certain amounts of money,” explains Rickie Stewart, business instructor and student government advisor.

This year, the faculty and staff pledges helped bring in $2,700 in donations between Nov. 23 and Dec. 2. Students donated most of the money, but administrators, teachers and staff members kicked in, too.

That figure was lower than usual. Because of COVID-19, school was online only on several days, so there were fewer days to collect donations, Stewart says. And some families have suffered economically because of the pandemic and had less to give.

“We’re grateful for every dime we get,” she said.

The week before Thanksgiving, Stewart explains, student body and class officers went around the school and found out what rewards administrators, teachers, secretaries, janitors and lunch ladies would offer, or what consequences they would go through, if certain classes or other defined student groups reached certain fund-raising targets.

The student officers got teachers and staff on the record. They shot video of them making the offers. The video was played in all of the advisory classes.

The drive itself kicked off Nov. 23, the Monday before Thanksgiving. Student officers decorated 5-gallon buckets with paper snowflakes, Christmas trees, snowmen and other figures.

They walked through the halls and the lunch room between classes and during lunch collecting money. On some mornings, they served hot chocolate in the school commons in return for donations.

A Christmas-tree figure was posted in the commons. As more donations came in, the level of tinsel on the tree rose.

On Thursday, Dec. 3, seven student body and senior class officers went to Walmart to spend the money on Christmas gifts for children. Each officer got a share of the $2,700 to shop with.

Each year, Kay Jensen of Manti, chairwoman of the local Sub for Santa and Toys for Tots programs, lets student leaders know what is most needed. One year it was hats and gloves. This year, Jensen suggested any gifts that would be appropriate for girls 10 years and older.

“Walmart’s been really great to work with us, to be ready for us,” Stewart says.

The students loaded their purchases into a panel truck owned by the school district and took them to the Exhibit Building at the Sanpete County Fairgrounds. When they arrived, they got to meet leaders of the toy drive, who were having a meeting at the time.

“It’s good for the kids to see that they’re making somebody’s Christmas,” Stewart says.

But the real reward is yet to come. On Tuesday, Dec. 22, the last day of school before Christmas break, administrators, faculty and staff will make good on their pledges to do crazy things.

Most years, the antics occur at an assembly. This year, there will be a TV show broadcast on CentraCom Channel 10 and shown in classrooms.

As they have in past years, Stewart and three other teachers are participating in a “Cooler Heads” trivia game, similar to a game seen on the Jimmy Fallon TV show.

They will divided into two teams with two members each. If one of the teams gets a question wrong, students will get to pour something on the losers’ heads.

One year it was hot chocolate, another year marshmallows and popcorn, and one year peppermint oil. Stewart said it took weeks for the peppermint smell to go away.

Other typical stunts are educators shaving their heads, having water tossed in their faces or having eggs cracked on their heads. In the case of the eggs, the teachers or staff don’t know in advance if the eggs are hard-boiled or raw.

“We make quite a bit of a mess,” Stewart says.


North Sanpete High School student body officers display some of the gifts they purchased for needy youngsters in Sanpete County with funds raised at the school. Starting in front at left and in clockwise order are Aspen Clayton, Halle Church, Parker Lee, Graciee Christiansen, Riley Madsen and Azlyn Freeman.