Giving Back and Bringing the Holiday Spirit to Kenwood


Kenwood gets in the holiday spirit with the SGA door decorating contest.

Here at Kenwood we have our own holiday traditions staff and students look forward to every year. One of the favorite staff traditions is the Adopt a Family tradition of providing gifts for students and their siblings in need.


“Kenwood truly is one big family,” shared Ms. Brendlinger. This project began over twelve years ago. The teacher who started it all was Ms. Cox, but when she had left the school Mrs. Seymore ran the project for a bit. But now Ms. Brendlinger has been running it for Kenwood since 2017. 


Her and her secret elves go around school looking for students who might need a little help this Christmas.  Santa’s elves help out with delivering Christmas meals and gifts. A student in her class said it’s like being an “anonymous Santa.” The food they deliver for Christmas meals is donated by the Maryland Food Bank and nearby churches. The gifts are purchased and donated by the faculty and staff right here at Kenwood. Depending on the number of families needing adopting for the holidays, sometimes other school programs have helped out throughout the years like the IB program, the AVID program, JROTC, and SGA. This year for the first time a real estate agency will be adopting a family this year to help out. 


Ms. Brendlinger is happy to take the lead on organizing Kenwood’s Adopt a Family tradition. “It keeps me feeling connected with my father whom passed away ten and a half years ago. He used to dress as Santa for schools, families, and even weddings. He truly was Santa!”

Kenwood’s English Department’s gifts for their Adopt a Family.

Kenwood’s AVID and SSA organization also give back during the holiday season. Students in both programs decorated 50 stockings for Empower4Life’s Holiday drive. Twenty SSA and AVID students participated with donating toiletries for the stockings and stuffing them for  Empower4Life to finish filling them with donations they collected to give to children in local homeless shelters. 


It’s also tradition for Kenwood’s JROTC to bring the holiday spirit. JROTC does a lot around their usual all-year-round schedule, but the holidays for them are no joke. They do things like helping in the cafeteria with plating food and trash duty, leading a parade in Havre de Grace, putting wreaths on veterans’ graves, and more, but that only scratches the surface of what they do during the months of November and December to keep in the holiday spirit. Sergeant Stone is passionate about his students, he really wants them to take a lot out of performing these little things, “We want the students to have fun, and look back on these experiences to help guide them through what they want to do in life,” he shares. 

Kenwood Cares students serving breakfast at the Manna House on Dec 20.


Kenwood’s Kenwood Cares organization led by Ms. Fulcher is a club targeted at service learning, whether students want to participate to get their graduation hours or do something good for the community around them. The club does all their service work in the Essex and Baltimore area. For the holidays, Kenwood Cares went to the Manna House Soup Kitchen on December 20 to serve breakfast. Ms. Fulcher is always looking for new members to join her and the other students in this club, and she encourages others to stay in the spirit over winter break, “To stay in spirit for the holidays, I encourage our members to be kind to everyone they come in contact with.”

Ms. Cooper’s decorated SEL holiday door for SGA’s door decorating contest.


To add to the holiday festivities in the halls of Kenwood SGA sponsored their annual door decorating contest and pj spirit week. In the spirit of giving back SGA is also currently hosting a hat and glove drive for students in need. 


Another anticipated holiday tradition is the Sports Science Academy annual SSA Holiday Basketball Tournament Dec 19 and 21 during first period. This was the fourth year for the holiday tournament in Votta’s class. Ms. Votta adds,  “The SSA-11 students spend first quarter learning about how businesses are run, along with management careers, and qualities to succeed. The culminating project is to plan and run a basketball tournament. Each student is assigned a job/responsibility from coach, to athletic direction, tournament staff, concessions to cheer coach.” It’s become a well loved holiday tradition for the SSA organization. 

One of the final anticipated events of the Kenwood holiday season are the holiday performances! Last week on December 14 the Kenwood band, orchestra, and choir put on their holiday show for the community. On December 17 Kenwood’s dance team performed. Fine Arts Department Chair Ms. Cain adds, “Amazing dancers, packed house, and a fabulous leader in Ms. Ferrigno and dancing Bluebirds dazzled the night. It was a tremendous program!”

Kenwood’s dancers performing on December 17 for their holiday show.


It’s been a festive, giving back holiday season here at Kenwood High! We wish all of our families a wonderful holiday break and see you in the new year!