While most high school students in the Santa Clarita Valley were busy studying for finals, the Hart High School Associated Student Body was busy prepping for its 31st annual Holiday Dinner held earlier this month at the school’s gym and cafeteria.
According to Hart principal Jason d’Autremont, the ASB, led by director Nicole Wertz, helped feed more than 600 people at the free event, with the Hart Parent Organization helping to spread the word throughout the community.
Some invitations were sent out, but the event was open to the public.
“It means a lot because it shows what a community that Hart High School is and the awesome things that we can do together when we all work together — parents, staff students — to really give back to our community that we live in,” d’Autremont said. “We pride ourselves on being a school that values everyone, all sorts of cultures, all sorts of socioeconomics. We just really come together and work together on this for our community. It really makes it special.”
The crowd that gathered was the largest d’Autremont could remember for the event since before the COVID-19 pandemic. Meals were donated by the Hart Parent Organization or by other parents and students, d’Autremont said.
Along with a meal, attendees were also able to take pictures with Santa Claus and “shop” for clothes and other items. According to d’Autremont, students wrapped “hundreds and hundreds” of gifts individually for kids to take home.
“Setting up the decor in the gym and in the cafeteria is something that they work on for weeks,” d’Autremont said. “So, the last couple weeks of the semester, the ASB students dedicate themselves to doing this on top of studying for finals and going to their basketball or soccer games.”
While unable to take on the task alone, d’Autremont stressed that it was the work of the students that made the whole event happen.
“This is almost completely student-run and they deserve all the credit in the world for putting this together,” d’Autremont said. “We just want to make sure that our families are taken care of and that everyone knows that Hart High School is a place that people can come to and not only learn but grow as people. I think our ASB students definitely showed how to do that.”
The Hart High School Holiday Dinner is scheduled to return each year on the last Thursday of the fall semester.