Cleburne Independent School district

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Bond 2018

Christmas Trees of Character at C.C. Cooke Elementary

            For the second consecutive year, Christmas trees of character lined the main hallway of C.C. Cooke Elementary School, each decorated in a color symbolizing trustworthiness, respect, fairness, caring, citizenship and responsibility.

            The trees are a reflection of the Character Counts program initiated at Cooke which centers around six pillars of character. At the end of school on Tuesday, with the start of the holiday break, the trees found new homes with families who might not otherwise have a Christmas tree for the holidays.

            “Our students know the story and the message behind the trees,” Counselor Annabelle Doran said. “This month, our focus was on caring and helping those in need. From the books our students donated to our partner school in Ingleside to replace classroom libraries damaged by Hurricane Harvey to the homes these trees are going to, they are excited to be involved in helping others.”

            “We all, our students and staff, really love the Christmas tree project,” she said. “This is the second year First Financial Bank has donated the pre-lit trees, which are decorated by students in Chelsea Whitt’s class. I can’t begin to tell you what this has meant at our school. A lot of our families can’t afford trees at Christmas. This has really added to the holiday spirit within our C.C. Cooke family.”

            Tom O’Neil, board chairman of First Financial Cleburne, said as an adopter of Cooke Elementary, the bank is very happy to be involved in the Character Counts program, as a sponsor.

            “We are happy to fund the thoughtfulness of Cooke Elementary’s leadership as displayed in these Christmas trees,” O’Neil said. “In addition to brightening the lives of six families, they serve as a tool to help teach our school children the importance of caring for others and establishing positive character traits.”



C.C. Cooke Elementary kindergartner Alyssa Pierce helps decorate the “Responsibility” tree, one of six Character Counts Christmas trees that have lined her school’s main hallway for the second consecutive year. At the close of school on Tuesday for the winter break, the trees found new homes with families who might not otherwise have a tree for the holidays.

Students in Chelsea Whitt's class at C.C. Cooke are in charge of decorating the six Christmas trees of character with ornaments of gold, purple, green, orange, red and blue.