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Walled Lake community surprises Inkster elementary students with thousands of personalized gifts

'Kids giving back to kids is priceless during the holidays and our kids deserve this more than anybody.'
Posted at 5:00 PM, Dec 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-14 17:59:39-05

(WXYZ) — Pure joy and squeals of delight filled the classrooms at David Hicks Elementary in Inkster Thursday.

"I’m gonna cry," said principal Amy Gee, also known as "Mama Gee at Hicks. "Kids giving back to kids is priceless during the holidays and our kids deserve this more than anybody."

Thursday afternoon 3,000 gifts totaling more than $40,000 were waiting for students as a surprise on their desks after lunch.

Each kid got about six gifts, three that were necessity gifts and three that were fun gifts, the gifts were chosen based on wish lists each child made.

How did the magic come to be?

For months Walled Lake Northern students, families, and staff planned the surprise, it's part of their annual gift drive.

Each year, the Walled Lake Northern student leadership team picks a school to shower in gifts.

Student Council President Bella Rushwin explained how they picked Hicks: "Basically when I talked to Mrs. Gee there was a few big things that stood out to me. She said that a lot of their kids do struggle with hunger and there is a big need for food here at the school, lot of necessities. We knew this was the right school to choose for us."

Mama Gee said when kids opened their presents Thursday they kept asking, "'Who got us this?' and I said, 'Walled Lake! We have friends in the Walled Lake community! It’s another city in Michigan.’ They were like ‘oh my gosh, why? why are they buying this for us?’ So to be able to explain that there are people out there in the world that are doing good is amazing."

David Hicks Elementary has around 430 students, a large percent of which come from low income families, 88% are on school lunch assistance.

"To see the background take place and all the work that went in to today from the Walled Lake community and all the leadership team over at Walled Lake Northern, and see it come alive today is something that I’ll never forget for the rest of my life, and our kids won’t forget it either," said Mama Gee.

This was Walled Lake Northern's eighth annual Gift Drive.