Santa Claus made his annual visit to the 36th consecutive “Toys for Tots” holiday extravaganza on Thursday at Lakeland High School. More than 150 students enjoyed seeing Santa Claus thanks to the Leadership class. Students arrived at 10 a.m. from schools throughout Oakland County to enjoy holiday caroling, lunch and gifts from the North Pole.
“Toys for Tots” started 36 years ago thanks to former LHS counselor John Joannides. “I wanted high school students to get involved to benefit special needs and underprivileged children around the county,” a beaming Joannides said. The Lakeland holiday tradition has continued thanks to the involvement of thousands of high school students who raise funds, purchase presents and provide lunch for all the guests.
The extravaganza included caroling thanks to the Lakeland choir as well as holiday music performed by the Lakeland band. Over 100 pizzas were donated by White Lake merchants. Leadership students, headed by teacher Scott Rolando, served pizza and pop to all the students, staff and parents. Rolando was very proud to announce the annual bowl-a-thon raised over $9,000 for this year’s event.