Security & Staff Host “Bad Santa” for Special Education Students

Alyssa Garcia, Staff Writer

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Usually, people celebrating the holidays do gift exchanges or are involved with games such as white elephant or Secret Santa. Here at San Pasqual High School, there is a unique holiday tradition known as Bad Santa, created and hosted by one of San Pasqual’s security guards, Johnny Hernandez.

“The purpose of it is to have the kids just get to celebrate by themselves,” Hernandez said. “I try to get some of the other classes down [to the party] and make it a big deal for them because they don’t get to participate in pep rallies or jersey night. This is kind of like their big day and that’s all I try to make it for them.”

Hernandez started this tradition about six years ago in hopes of creating a day solely for the special education students so that they have a fun holiday season.

“I was at the store and I saw a bunch of coloring books and I thought it would be nice to buy all of the kids in the G building something for Christmas,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez continues the Bad Santa tradition every year alongside the help of fellow security guard, Mike Santos, as well as the Advanced Placement Psychology teacher, Cynthia Hollins.

“In combination with Johnny, AP Psychology raises money, we fundraise on campus, we provide food, gifts and certain ornaments and items so they have a festive Christmas at home,” Hollins said.

The Bad Santa tradition has changed and gotten bigger and better throughout the years, and with more people helping out and making people feel so much love and joy, I don’t see this tradition stopping anytime soon.

“It just got bigger and so many people started helping; I just wanted to make it better and better for them every year” Hernandez said. “It has changed tremendously, I’ve had so much more help now. Psych students come help, the ladies in the front office help, all the teachers and staff here participate and donate money, toys, food, and whatever they can.”

What security and staff do for the special education students not only makes the students feel good, but it makes those who help out feel good too and encourages everyone to promote kindness.

“Seeing them get their gifts from Santos and having us all there, together as a group in support of our fellow classmates, is so much fun,” Hollins said. “It’s just a blast.”

The holiday season is not about the presents but rather a good feeling of love, happiness and unity of appreciating one another by being kind; that is what the Bad Santa party is all about.

“The purpose of the party is to make sure that people know that the holiday season is to be generous, kind and make sure that in your own little world, that people are treated well and to make sure that each one of these kids go home with a gift and a sense of cheer,” Hollins said.