Letter to the Editor: Thank you, Clarkston!

Magically, Santa and Mrs. Claus made a very special appearance at Renaissance High School on Nov. 11 as the Rotary Club of Clarkston held its annual Shoes for Kids program benefiting Clarkston school children. 
This year, 508 Clarkston school children were invited to receive new shoes, winter boots, hats, and gloves from our Rotary Club.
The day began with Santa greeting them with a “Ho Ho Ho!” that is probably still reverberating through the school’s hallways.
Each child showed their enthusiasm when picking out a certain style, color, or character shoe. Volunteers will attest to seeing the smiles and laughter all day long. Volunteers worked tirelessly from 9 a.m. until the last kids left after 3:30 p.m. Then it is time to pack up and return to Renaissance High.
Kudos to Superintendent Dr. Shawn Ryan and Renaissance High Principal Gary Bigger for making our transition to RHS seamless.
Local service groups participating included the Clarkston Optimist Club’s Opti-Socks program and the Clarkston Area Lions Club KidSight free eye exams. The Clarkston Independence District Library provided books for the entire family. Local dentists graciously donated dental hygiene products.
The Rotary Club of Clarkston has sold a Goodfellows-type newspaper in Clarkston since its chartering in 1940. For the past 45 years, donations have been earmarked specifically for “Shoes for Kids.”
Over the past 24 years, over 12,000 Clarkston children have benefited from the support and donations provided by people who make Clarkston a place where people want to live.
A special thank you to the Clarkston Community Schools, Superintendent Dr. Shawn Ryan, Staci Puzio and entire school staff, Renaissance High and Principal Gary Bigger, Santa and Mrs. Claus, Melvin and Alaina Hawley, for helping make the dreams of the children come true, to Bill Bertakis Photography and his staff for capturing a special moment for the families, Patti Engineering, Sam and Patti Hoff, for making the magical family photos possible.
Also to all the Clarkston businesses and individuals working behind the scenes who make Shoes For Kids possible every year.
Thanks especially to the over 300 volunteers whose efforts and time made “Shoes for Kids” a reality again this year, and to all the people who stopped and donated allowing Shoes for Kids to be possible.
Finally, to my wife Mindy and my two daughters Sarah and Becky and our grandson Liam who over the past 25 years have continually put up with the craziness that often fills our house for most of the year. 
Thank you, Clarkston, for making 2023 Shoes for Kids another successful year.
The Rotary Club of Clarkston &
Joel & Mindy DeLong & Family

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