By Mike Kinney
Santa Claus came early for dozens of students at Downer Elementary in Richmond.
Today, three Santas (who also happen to be employees of the West Contra Costa Unified School District), hopped on First Student School buses and drove to 46 homes in Richmond and San Pablo to deliver gifts to students in Downer Elementary’s three kindergarten classes.
It’s an annual tradition. Every year since 1998, the WCCUSD Business Services team “adopts” one Iron Triangle neighborhood school’s kindergarten class. The team’s employees purchase a gift between $15 and $25 for the students. They rotate schools every year, and this year was Downer’s turn, WCCUSD spokesperson Robert Jordan said.
Usually, the Business Services team brings the gifts to the school, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic they modified the program to deliver to the kids’ homes.
The Santa Clauses were Tony Wold, associate superintendent of business services; Michael Booker, emergency preparedness director; and Julio Franco, director K-12.
The gifts were wrapped before delivery and this year Fab Lab Richmond at Kennedy High made ornaments with the student’s name on them, Jordan said.