Winter Wishes program provides gifts to students

SEQUIM — Sequim High School sophomore Kyah Fukanaga will strum away her Christmas break this year.

Fukanaga was among many Sequim High School students who received special gifts at the school’s Winter Wishes assembly where students write down a wish for a gift for themselves or someone else.

This year, Fukanaga said she wrote down a wish for her friend Jax and he wrote down a gift for her — that being an electric guitar.

“I really have been wanting a guitar this last year,” Fukanaga said. “Music is pretty important to me.”

Fukanaga plays the acoustic guitar and the ukulele and is a student at Joyful Noise Music Center in Sequim. Joyful Noise owners donated the electric guitar to the Winter Wishes assembly not knowing the recipient would be one of their own students.

Fukanaga’s friend Jax received his gift of a map of North America.

During the assembly, the announcers said that Fukanaga is involved in both leadership and FBLA programs and, “we’ve noticed that she is constantly volunteering to help other people,” and “always giving back to her community.”

About 230 other students and staff received gifts at the Winter Wishes assembly Wednesday, including hand-knit items, laptop computers, a school singalong and a dance from the school’s ASB leadership.

Leadership teacher Sean O’Mera said the assembly aims to be a positive experience for students who might not have things to look forward to over the winter break and it is also a way to give back to students.

“My mission is to better the school,” O’Mera said. “It’s all about giving instead of receiving.”

Many students were surprised to have received gifts, including senior Cody Bell — a Denver Broncos fan from Utah — who received a Seattle Seahawks jersey from one of his friends who wished for him.

“I didn’t expect my name to be up there,” Bell said.

He and his friends were in an uproar when they announced his name at the assembly.

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