Comal ISD Students, Staff Find Joy in Giving

December 15, 2023 - The spirit of giving is alive and well at Comal ISD with students, staff and parents pitching in to ensure that fellow students and families have what they need during the holidays.

From toy, blanket and food drives to wrapping gifts and delivering cards and ornaments, students are learning about service and discovering the joy of giving this holiday season.

“Canyon Lake always gives back,” says Mason Paananen, a senior at Canyon Lake High School and Student Council president, “but during Hawks Adopt-A-Child, we get to see the impact firsthand. It means the world to us to be able to do this for our community.”

For Hawks Adopt-A-Child, the CLHS student council receives a list of students in need from its elementary campuses including Mountain Valley Elementary, Rebecca Creek Elementary and Startzville Elementary.

This year, students in 45 different classes and sports joined forces to help 35 students receive their holiday wishes. The real fun, however, takes place when the elementary students unwrap their gifts, take pictures with Santa, who was played by a CLHS theater student this year, and enjoy time with the older kids on the CLHS campus.

Similar to Adopt-A-Child, Cougar Christmas at Canyon High School pairs student organizations with wish lists from elementary students in the CHS feeder pattern; and Davenport High School’s Winter Wonderland does the same with its feeder.

This year’s Cougar Christmas benefited 93 elementary students with 34 student organizations participating to buy and wrap the gifts. Students from Freiheit, Oak Creek, Goodwin Frazier and Clear Spring elementary schools received clothes, toys, bikes, video games and more, all purchased by high school students. The fun takes place in the Cougar gymnasium with a pizza party followed by the unwrapping of gifts. It is quite a sight to see. In fact, it looks like the big kids who give the gift have more fun than those receiving them.

Working with Comal Creek, Garden Ridge and Morningside elementary campuses, the DHS Winter Wonderland benefitted 44 elementary students this year. The DHS Student Council  coordinates this campaign with staff and students sponsoring a child’s wish list.


Snuggle Bags

For the second year, Comal ISD student support services partnered with the Comal ISD Council of PTAs to provide Snuggle Bags to approximately 450 students from Pre-K to 12th grade in the district.

The bags are filled with blankets, stuffed animals, socks, toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, crayons, snacks and coloring books. Many of these items were collected at campuses through the PTA.

“For PTA, it is our mission to make every child’s potential a reality by empowering families and communities to advocate for all children,” says Audrey Freeman, who serves on the Comal ISD Council of PTAs board. “By helping our students in need, we are not only supporting those individual students in their time of need, but also fostering a sense of service in our community and schools.”

The campus PTAs which collected items for the Snuggle Bags include Bill Brown Elementary, Canyon High School, Church Hill Middle School, Davenport High School, Hoffmann Lane Elementary, Indian Springs Elementary, Johnson Ranch Elementary, Mountain Valley Middle School, Mountain Valley Elementary, Pieper Ranch Middle School, Smithson Valley High School and the PTA Clothes Closet.

“We want to ensure that our students and families feel supported,” says Monica Fernandez, the Comal ISD McKinney-Vento liaison, “to show them that we too are their family and that we are here for them.”

The Council of PTAs also received corporate donations this year for the Snuggle Bags from Rob Allen, DDS, Bulverde Hills Dental, Hulme Orthodontics and Bluebonnet Ford.


School Age Child Care (SACC) Gives Back - Family Holiday Bags

This year, the SACC program is providing students with two service project opportunities through its “SACC Gives Back” campaign. The first, Family Holiday Bags, gave students the opportunity to collect food items for a complete holiday including a dessert. Together, they collected enough items to fill 120 bags.

Partnering with Comal ISD’s student support services, the bags are being distributed to families in need within the district.

In addition, SACC received a $250 gift card from H-E-B which was used to purchase whole chickens that were added to each bag.

“We’re helping our fellow teammates and their families and instilling value and assistance in our program,” says Anthony Martiguez, the SACC coordinator.  


Bulverde Spring Branch Angel Tree

In its seventh year the Angel Tree Project sponsored by the Bulverde Spring Branch Angels served 11 Comal ISD campuses, helped 180 families, 600 children and provided 2,500 gifts.

This year, Angel Trees were located at Arlon Seay Elementary, Indian Springs Elementary, Johnson Ranch Elementary, Kinder Ranch Elementary, Smithson Valley High School, Specht Elementary and Timberwood Park Elementary.

The wrapped gifts are given to each family in a safe, drive-by collection.


Bill Brown Elementary “Cover Others with Kindness” Blanket Drive

In addition to toys and clothing on their wish lists, kids on the Bulverde Spring Branch Angel Trees also received new blankets thanks to an annual blanket drive organized by the Student Council at Bill Brown Elementary.

This year, students collected more than 500 blankets.




-The Student Council at Bill Brown Elementary continued its tradition of collecting blankets for the Bulverde Spring Branch Angel Tree Project.

-Startzville Elmentary student Bryson Kilanowski was excited to receive a new bike during the Canyon Lake High School Adopt-A-Child event.

-Startzville Elementary student Leo McKown showed off one of his gifts during the Canyon Lake High School Adopt-A-Child.

-Goodwin Frazier Elementary student Karenique Jackson had a blast opening her gifts from the Canyon High School cheer team.

-The Canyon High School boys basketball team at Cougar Christmas.

-Members of the SACC team at Comal ISD coordinated a food drive to provide family holiday bags.

-Comal ISD staff members assembled approximately 450 Snuggle Bags for students.

-Davenport High School student Addison Willis helps an elementary student during Winter Wonderland at DHS.



Read more Comal ISD news here.